Adventist Health Sonora

Adventist Health Sonora erected a triage tent in late November outside of its emergency department to provide room for additional patients as part of a COVID-19 surge plan.

Adventist Health Sonora has announced the hospital and its staff are partnering with Tuolumne County Public Health to begin Phase 1B COVID-19 mass vaccinations at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora late next week.

Phase 1B includes individuals 65 and older, and workers in emergency services, education and childcare, and food and agriculture, according to state definitions of phases in a plan to eventually vaccinate everyone in California.

Adventist Health Sonora communications staff are touting their plan to support the Tuolumne County Public Health Department by beginning Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccinations with “mass vaccination clinics” for Tuolumne County residents 75 and older.

“With Phase 1A nearly complete, Adventist Health Sonora is moving into the next phase, with priority for those aged 75 and above,” hospital communications staff said. “Reaching this highest priority group first will allow for those aged 65 to 74 to follow quickly thereafter, as outlined in Phase 1B of the California Public Health Department guidelines for vaccine distribution.”

To meet demand of about 6,000 individuals aged 75 and over in Tuolumne County, Adventist Health Sonora has rented space at the fairgrounds and has been working getting more COVID-19 vaccine doses, which will be provided at no cost to Tuolumne County residents who meet current vaccine distribution phase criteria, Adventist Health Sonora communications staff said.

Mass vaccination clinics at the fairgrounds are expected to launch late next week.

Individuals will be invited to verify their age and county of residence and schedule an appointment for their vaccination as soon as the clinics can be set up, staffed and supplied.

Appointments will be available in the next few days, Adventist Health Sonora communications staff said. Adventist Health Sonora will announce when a schedule is ready.

Adventist Health Sonora has already started partnering with local emergency services agencies for individuals to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as indicated in Phase 1B.

When all Tuolumne County residents eligible for Phase 1B vaccinations have had the opportunity to receive vaccine doses, and as vaccine supply increases, clinics will then be available for people who are designated as Phase 1C.

“I am really proud of our team for mobilizing quickly and vaccinating individuals eligible for Phase 1A vaccinations,” Michelle Fuentes, the president for Adventist Health Sonora, said in an announcement.

Adventist Health Sonora workers in employee health, infection prevention, pharmacy, nursing and other support departments have developed processes for reporting first and second doses to a designated vaccine registry, as required by the CDC, and given over 1,150 shots to healthcare workers in recent weeks, Fuentes said, adding that Adventist Health Sonora is ahead of schedule for vaccinating long- term care residents at Sierra Care Center units 6 and 7.

“We are eager to see the community vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Fuentes said, “and ease the strain that COVID-19 has put on our families, businesses and healthcare team.”

For definitions of phases in the state plan to eventually vaccinate everyone in California, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/#When-can-I-get-vaccinated online.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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