Kane County inks deal to keep Batavia mass vaccination site open
The COVID-19 mass vaccination site in Batavia will remain open through at least May. Kane County officials remedied staffing shortages and an expiring lease agreement at the site through a series of unanimous votes Tuesday.
The 501 N. Randall Road site serves as the Kane County Health Department's central hub for getting its vaccine supply out to the public. But the site was set to go dark this month when health department officials couldn't find enough workers qualified to administer the vaccine shots. The arrival of the omicron variant and skyrocketing COVID-19 infection numbers pushed county board members to direct the health department to find a way to keep the mass vaccination site running.
That push resulted in extensions to the lease for the site and the county's agreement with Batavia for coverage of the utility costs Tuesday.
Public health committee chairman Jarett Sanchez said the health department has been more successful in finding volunteers to work the site. The Illinois Department of Public Health also will help supply people qualified to administer the shots, he said.
"The county board very clearly expressed its desire to keep (the site) open," Sanchez said. "That has been followed through by the health department, and they have doubled down on their efforts to receive assistance."
Most mass vaccination sites closed just before the arrival of omicron because shots became available at local pharmacies and doctors' offices. County board Chairwoman Corinne Pierog said it was Kane County's push to not follow the closure of mass vaccination sites in other counties that enabled it to have a place ready to receive additional state-level support when that help was both requested and offered.
The board also reached an agreement to keep space available at the Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee for pop-up vaccination clinics as needed. Neighboring Carpentersville is one of the areas, along with the east side of Aurora, that have seen the most hesitancy among residents to get the vaccine.
Kane County will hit 100,000 total positive cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic as soon as Wednesday. A total of 970 county residents have died from the virus. There are fewer than 30 intensive-care unit beds available (out of 323) in the combined reporting area of Kane and DuPage counties.