Pfizer vaccine

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Temple University Hospital in North Philadelphia in December. (Tim Tai/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

Adventist Health Sonora is offering COVID-19 vaccines for all Tuolumne County residents age 18 and older at their clinic this Saturday and Tuolumne County Public Health will begin vaccinating ages 16 and over on Tuesday, hospital and county officials said Thursday.

Saturday will be the first opportunity for most people between the ages of 18 and 45 to be vaccinated in Tuolumne County.

“We encourage anyone who is eligible to get the vaccine,” county Public Health staff said Thursday. “Vaccination helps keep you and those around you protected from COVID-19, as well as reducing the spread of disease in our community. Let’s get to immunity!”

Appointments for this Saturday’s clinic and other Adventist Health Sonora vaccination clinics are available at www.AdventistHealthSonora.org/COVIDvaccine.

Tuolumne County COVID-19 vaccination interest forms are online at https://bit.ly/3scMVFy and appointments can be made online at www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1317/COVID-Vaccine. Anyone with questions or needing help scheduling a vaccine appointment is urged to call county Public Health at (209) 533-7440 or email to Health@tuolumnecounty.ca.gov.

A state vaccine dashboard updated Thursday showed 28,720 vaccine doses had been administered in Tuolumne County. The county’s estimated population is 54,660.

Also Thursday, four new cases of COVID-19 were counted in Tuolumne County. The new cases were identified as a man between 18 and 29; a woman in her 30s; a man in his 60s; and a man in his 80s.

The county’s COVID data dashboard at https://bit.ly/3iI70iq “seems to be intermittently going offline,” Tuolumne County Public Health said Thursday. “We are working with our county GIS partners to troubleshoot the issue.” The site is based on ArcGIS, a geographic information system maintained by Environmental Systems Research Institute, also known as Esri, which is based in Redlands, San Bernardino County.

The California Department of Public Health moved Tuolumne County from the red tier for substantial risk of COVID-19 infection to the orange tier for moderate risk effective Wednesday this week. Numbers for Tuolumne County showed 3.3 cases per day for 100,000 people and a 1.6% testing positivity rate over a seven-day average, both of which met the requirements for the orange tier.

Getting vaccines when they become available, continuing to follow preventive measures like wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and staying home when sick or experiencing symptoms will help the county continue on a path to the less restrictive yellow tier and avoid moving back to the more restrictive red and purple tiers, Tuolumne County Public Health staff said.

According to county Public Health staff, Twain Harte Pharmacy, CVS, Rite Aid, the Sonora Safeway pharmacy, and Groveland Pharmacy are now providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

As of Thursday afternoon, the county had tallied 4,040 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 2,624 community cases and 1,416 SCC inmate cases. SCC inmate cases have accounted for 35% of the county’s cases. There were 19 active cases and zero COVID-positive individuals were hospitalized in the county as of Thursday.

A total of 62 COVID-19 deaths have been counted by Tuolumne County Public Health since the pandemic began last year.

As of Thursday afternoon, California had counted more than 3.57 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 58,090 coronavirus deaths. Nationally, the pandemic had resulted in more than 30.52 million confirmed cases and contributed to the deaths of more than 552,990 Americans.

The COVID-19 testing site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds, set up by the state and run by Optum Serve-LHI, has reduced hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. A once-a-week testing site at Groveland Community Hall has moved to Groveland Youth Center, 18950 Highway 120, with the same hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays.

For all Tuolumne County testing sites, appointments are recommended, and walk-ins will be accepted, according to county Public Health. Individuals can choose a site location when making appointments at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.

People with concerns about symptoms can call Adventist Health Sonora’s COVID-19 Triage Line at (209) 536-5166. The county COVID-19 call center is open normal office hours for questions at (209) 533-7440.

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

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