Kane Co. COVID-19 numbers driving reconsidering of mass vacc site
With the number of COVID-19 cases in Kane County trending downward, officials signaled Wednesday that they are ready to close the mass vaccination site in Batavia. The pending move would come one month after county officials scrambled to ink deals to keep the site operating through May.
The onset of the Omicron variant shot sent COVID-19 cases skyrocketing at the beginning of January. That coincided with a shortage of people qualified to administer vaccinations in Kane County. At that point, health department officials decided to close the mass vaccination site at 501 N. Randall Road. County board members pushed back against that decision citing the growing scarcity of available local hospital beds.
The result was increased help from the state and renewed agreements with Batavia and the owner of the mass vaccination property to keep the mass vaccination site running through May. But Wednesday, members of the county board's public health committee pointed to a drop in COVID cases and stagnant vaccination numbers as causes to set an earlier closure date for the sight.
Health department officials reported a local COVID-19 case rate of 231.59 per 100,000 people. That's still double the 100 cases per 100,000 that serves as the threshold for a "high transmission" designation. But it's also a steep downward trend compared to the 914.72 cases per 100,000 the county was dealing with when the county board pushed to keep the mass vaccination site open.
"It's served its purpose," said Jarett Sanchez, chairman of the county board's public health committee. "It's time to move on to our next model for mass vaccination."
Those outlets continue to be doctors' offices, hospitals, pop-up clinics and pharmacies.
Committee member Vern Tepe said the Batavia mass vaccination site currently serves fewer than 100 people per day. Regardless of the positivity rate, putting more money into a publicly-run mass vaccination site isn't doing much to improve the number of fully vaccinated county residents. That number stands at 65%.
"I think it would be time for us to seriously consider closing the vaccination center," Tepe said. "I urge people to wear a mask whenever they feel uncomfortable. It's the fact that some people don't do that, in my opinion, that other people continue to get infected. They don't want to get vaccinated. And they just won't wear a mask."
Kane County logged 1,075 COVID-19 deaths as of Feb. 5. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kane County since the onset of the pandemic is 123,343.
There is no date set to close the Batavia mass vaccination site. That will be a discussion for the entire county board.