Palo Pinto County is trying to make its way through a 7,400-plus list of people signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine and will be getting some help from Parker County within the next week.
The Parker County Hospital District becoming a regional vaccine hub through the Texas Department of State Health Services, and will allow the distribution of 306 vaccine doses to Palo Pinto County and Wise County per week.
Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes said the hospital district is getting one extra dose per vial to share with the rural counties.
“The governor has made it very clear that any Texan can go anywhere in the state of Texas to get a vaccine and we are working with our surrounding counties, as well as our surrounding counties working with us, to try to provide as many vaccine opportunities as possible,” Hughes said at Monday’s commissioners court meeting.
Palo Pinto County Judge Shane Long said they are expected to receive the first shipment of 306 doses next week.
As of Monday, Palo Pinto County had 7,400 people on a waiting list to receive the vaccine with about 200 registrations occurring each day. Because of the number of registrations, the Palo Pinto commissioners approved a temporary position to help the county’s EMC Mistie Garland with the load.
“I need them proficient in Excel and Outlook, and their phone skills have to be great because you are dealing with the elderly 90% of the time,” Garland said. “It takes patience and just being nice, and sometimes they just want to visit. So they just have to have very strong phone and public relation skills.”
The position was approved through June 30, with the possibility of extension, at a rate of $19.80 per hour.
“The department of labor said it can be a temporary position with no benefits as far as insurance or retirement as long as there’s a beginning date and an end date,” County Auditor Phyllis Banks said. “The beginning date would be just as soon as we can get someone hired.”
But with the number of vaccines coming into Palo Pinto County currently, Long said they’re not about to wipe out their list anytime soon.
“The hospital has ordered a freezer that will go down to 60 to 80 degrees below zero — that is coming — so the Pfizer may be an option for us in the future,” he said.
Additionally, Garland said Walmart should be receiving vaccines at some point and Walgreens will begin vaccinating others once they have completed long-term care facilities.
“Once Walgreens and CVS receive their first doses for the public, they’re going to work with us to help reduce our list instead of running their own,” she said.
As of Tuesday, Palo Pinto County had 2,677 total positive COVID-19 cases, 5,151 negative results and 12 pending results.
As of Monday, Parker County had 481 active cases of COVID-19, 13,217 recoveries and 143 deaths.
“We’re seeing a little bit of a downturn in the numbers, which is good, and we’re seeing that across the state of Texas,” Hughes said. “We’re averaging about 350 vaccines per day, six days a week, out of two sites from the Parker County Hospital District. Now we’re also giving 350 second shots in Parker County.”
COVID-19 vaccine registration:
• Palo Pinto General Hospital - ppgh.com; 940-328-6555
• Palo Pinto County - co.palo-pinto.tx.us; 940-329-1584
• Parker County Hospital District - pchdtx.org; 817-402-1118