The county held a news conference on January 12, 2021 on their COVID response.
There was actually very little information provided. They reported that 9,600 people have been vaccinated and 600 have received a second vaccination.
It was a little confusing regarding the sites that will be used in our county for vaccination. At one point they said they have eighteen sites. This apparently is a legacy of 9/11. Following 9/11 there was a national campaign for developing the ability to respond to major catastrophes. The county apparently developed eighteen sites at that time and subsequently ran some preparedness exercises at these sites.
Later in the meeting someone else said that the county had twelve sites for providing the vaccinations.
When questioned about where these sites are, the county declined to identify them with one exception. The county will be using the Saratoga Springs City Center as a site. Chairman of the Board Todd Kusnierz told the press that he was concerned that the organizations/facilities might back out depending upon what they may hear or see in the news so he did not want to name them.
Conspicuously absent from the presentation was any discussion about the status of contact tracing. When a reporter asked about the contact tracing program Kusnierz said they were “ramping up” the program.
I had mixed feelings about the event. I must say that it was encouraging to see all the leadership in our county government at the event and they seemed sincere in their commitment to mobilize to deal with the pandemic. It was also an actual press conference and the county leadership took questions.
I remain concerned about the lack of information about where and how the county plans to do vaccinations. I was hoping to find out where these sites were and how many vaccinations each site could accomplish each day. Given the county’s history, I remain cautiously skeptical about how many sites they will have that can properly handle vaccinations.
I am also quite concerned about the continued issue of contact tracing. Anecdotally the program appears to be having problems. When asked about the contact tracing program Chairman Kusnierz responded that he had signed contracts with new tracers that day and that the program is “ramping up.” Unfortunately, he was not asked about the number of tracers currently on staff nor did he volunteer a number. As readers will recall, I asked Supervisors Tara Gaston and Matt Veitch for a number without success.
Issues About Contact Tracing Appear To Be a Continuing Problem
A friend sent me some screen shots from Facebook pages. They are anecdotal but they do not reflect well on the county’s effort to hire contact tracers. Hopefully the new leadership of the county will turn this around.