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County, TMC partner to vaccinate 500 as COVID-19 death toll rises to 240

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County Health Authority Dr. Jerry Bennett vaccinates Ashlea Allen Wednesday at a shot clinic at the old Sherman high school made possible by a partnership with the Grayson County Health Department, Texoma Medical Center and many others.

Grayson County Health Department Director Amanda Ortez said approximately 500 Grayson County residents were expected to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus Wednesday at a shot clinic held at the old Sherman High School building.

Those who were getting shots had signed up for the vaccine on the county's website and had been called and given an appointment in an effort to keep everyone socially distanced.

"What we are trying to do is to get people vaccinated so hopefully we can keep people out of the hospitals and keep them well, healthy and happy," Ortez said.

Sherman Fire Department had an ambulance crew there just in case anyone had a bad reaction to the vaccine. Those who were vaccinated were asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving so that they could be observed for any immediate reaction.

Wednesday, they were offering the Pfizer vaccine and were giving out mainly first doses. 

Ortez said it is important that people know which vaccine they got so that when they go to get the second shot they can make sure to get the right one. She also said it is vital to get that second shot and to speak with their health care provider if they think they suffered any type of reaction to the vaccine. 

Grayson County's active COVID-19 case count was up by 97 new cases on Tuesday for a total of 522 active cases.

On Tuesday night, Grayson County reported that another ten people had suffered COVID-19 related deaths in the county. Because of the way the state releases information about those deaths, it is not possible to know when those people died or to get any additional information about them other than that they were Grayson County residents.

In addition to those deaths, the county announced 97 new active cases and a total active case count of 522. 

Since the pandemic began, more than 9,080 people have been confirmed to have had the illness and more than 70,879 tests have been given.

Grayson County's total hospital occupancy on Tuesday was 91.52 percent with a COVID-19 occupancy of 19.08 percent. The local ICU occupancy was 100 percent with 35 percent of those beds being filled with COVID-19 patients. 

Ortez said they will be calling people off the county wait list as quickly as they can get vaccine and she knows that the calls are going to be coming from people whose number might not be familiar to people. 

"But we may be making those calls at 7 p.m.," she said. She added that they will not be asking people for any type of confidential information like Social Security numbers or financial information. They will simply be asking if the person still needs the first round of the vaccine and or if they need a second round and what type of vaccine they received.

She said they are only scheduling people who signed up with the county. There are other providers in the area, though and she recommended that people get on as many lists as possible until they get the vaccine. 

The largest number of the active cases in the county on Tuesday evening was in Sherman with 236 cases. Denison had 96 and Pottsboro had 29. Van Alstyne had 27 and Whitesboro and Bells each had 20. Howe had 17 and Whitewright had 15. Gunter had 12 and Collinsville had 11. Gordonville had ten and Knollwood had nine. Sadler had seven and Tioga and Tom Bean each had six. Southmayd had one case.

A different report from the Grayson County Health Department previously published in the Herald Democrat said the vaccines are being given to those at highest risk first. These include frontline health and care workers, older adults, and those people at high risk of death because of underlying conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

"If you are in Groups 1A and Groups 1B (as defined by DSHS on their website) please register to be on the Grayson County Health Department WAITING LIST at www.co.grayson.tx.us/page/covid.vaccine It is recommended that you obtain the vaccine from your primary care physician, if available there, or through your retail pharmacy. Don’t wait for a dose to become available through the Grayson County Health Department if the vaccine becomes available to you at another distribution point, the report stated."

While some local medical care providers have received some vaccine, they have also dispensed it according to state guidance on who to give it to at this time.