COVID-19 · Fresno

Fresno Co. vaccine distribution picks up the pace

Officials with the Fresno County Department of Public Health provided an update Tuesday to the current state of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination progress. 

Joe Prado, a division manager with the department, said the county received 11,000 doses from the state Tuesday, pushing the total number of doses to 44,000. 

Of that total, county public health has redistributed 47 percent of the doses to health care workers throughout the county as part of the first phase of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. 

The county will vaccinate health care workers at inpatient psychiatric facilities on Wednesday, Prado said, which marks an important step for the department because the FCDPH will use a locally developed computerized data system to manage the distribution for the first time. 

Up to this point – including last week when the county vaccinated Emergency Medical Technicians – the county was working by hand with a paper system. 

“We’re doing data entry for all those vaccinations we did last week,” Prado said. “We want it in a very efficient data system, and now this week we’ve got that in place. 

Prado anticipates that this new data system will provide a much more efficient vaccine distribution process. 

How will the data system work? 

“We’re going to really work with the employers of these different essential workers, and we’re going to be sending a secure link,” Prado said. “And these individuals, once they get the secure link, they can choose their clinic time that they’re available and be able to get the information on when they can come and get vaccinated.” 

County hospitals continue to face surge

Fresno County hospitals have 640 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as an additional 46 patients who doctors suspect have the virus. 

That combined total of 686 is an all-time high for county hospitals during the pandemic. 

Of the total, 126 patients are currently being cared for in the ICU. 

According to data compiled by the state, Fresno County currently has a 17 percent COVID-19 positivity rate over the last week, averaging 62.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people. 

With the winter surge not showing any signs of letting up, Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra is concerned that the worst is yet to come. 

“I’m very worried that we are going to see an uptick in the number of hospitalizations and deaths related to gatherings that happened over the holidays,” Vohra said. “Having said that, we haven’t really seen a let up of the surge that we’ve already experienced. 

“When you look at our numbers, when you look at our ICU capacity, when you look at just how impacted our hospitals are, there really hasn’t been a reprieve. So we’re certainly just waiting and bracing ourselves to see what the next couple of weeks bring.” 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.