Marion County Health Department under extreme stress distributing vaccine

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:36 PM EST
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FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia state officials are pressing forward with the rapid place plan to get everyone in the state vaccinated.

A key component of that plan lies in the role of health department staff. They are on the front line, putting needles into arms of thousands of their county’s residents. That responsibility has taken a toll.

“It is unbelievably stressful,” described Lloyd White, the administrator of the Marion County Health Department.

Just because vaccine distribution is in the spotlight does not mean that the other responsibilities of the health department have vanished. Now, staff are finding themselves balancing their routine day-to-day operations, investigations and contact tracing of coronavirus cases in the county, and navigating the ever-shifting role of vaccine distribution.

“I have an absolutely wonderful staff. They are maintaining. We are working seven days a week,” said White. “It is stressful, but they are doing a phenomenal job.”

Staff have continued to find new ways to deal with the increased stress on their systems. Calling into the health department results in a pre-recorded message directing you to a COVID hotline. Staff have also streamlined the application process for the vaccine to an online application.

The stress is far from over. As Operation Warp Speed progresses nationwide and Operation Save Our Wisdom continues in-state, the Marion County Health Department staff have many more months of hard work to go. White says he is confident his staff will continue to persist and lead the way in distribution.

White also mentions, if you would like to do your part in helping ease the stress on the health department, continue to practice sanitary and safe behaviors to minimize spread until you are fully vaccinated.

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