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Central Valley Health continuing vaccine efforts in Stutsman County

Robin Iszler, unit administrator at Central Valley Health District, said some age groups still lagging in vaccination rates.

Covid vaccine in Jamestown
Robin Iszler, unit administrator of Central Valley Health District, was one of the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in December when it was first administered. John M. Steiner / The Sun

There still needs to be more shots of the COVID-19 vaccine in Stutsman County, according to Robin Iszler, unit administrator for Central Valley Health District.

"Just over 50% vaccinated now," she said. "We should see things become more normal as we get towards 70%."

The only age group meeting the 70% vaccination goal is those over the age of 65 with more than 80% vaccinated.

Iszler said about 15% of youth 17 and under have been vaccinated and 43% of those 18 to 64 in Stutsman County.

"A lot of people should consider being vaccinated," Iszler said.

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A COVID timeline included in the Central Valley annual report shows the first confirmed positive test for COVID occurred on April 8, 2020, and the first death on June 22, 2020.

While officials at Central Valley Health District hope to continue to vaccinate people, they are transitioning to providing public health services after the pandemic. Part of that will be public education. Cases peaked with 526 active cases of COVID-19 in Stutsman County on Nov. 18, 2020.

"We need to learn to live with the presence of disease," she said. "We need to trust science and to learn to live with emerging threats."

Emerging threats could be known diseases like ebola or Lyme disease or some unknown threat at this time, Iszler said.

Central Valley will continue to offer coronavirus testing for six to eight months to meet the requirements of people who travel and others.

"We just have to figure out what that looks like," Iszler said.

There also could be booster shots for COVID-19 to distribute this fall, although that topic is still being researched.

The health district will also restore some services that were suspended during the pandemic such as foot care.

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"It was very difficult to keep up normal operations," Iszler said. "... we had a lot of training on COVID but all other training was suspended during the pandemic."

The return to normal will also include administering the normal vaccinations associated with public health. Iszler said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently lifted a requirement that no other vaccines be administered 14 days before or after a coronavirus vaccine. This means people can get multiple vaccines at the same time, if convenient for them.

"After all," Iszler said, "we are not that far away from flu shot season."

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