Montgomery Co. shifting focus to vaccine distribution

Montgomery County

FONDA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the United States approaches the one-year mark of the coronavirus pandemic, one local community is shifting its efforts to vaccine distribution.

Montgomery County announced they will be using their resources to ramp up a plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. According to Montgomery Co. Exec. Matthew Ossenfort, the county has seen a steady increase of lab confirmed cases over the past few weeks, including a jump from 231 positive cases to 283 in the past week alone.

With the combination of a rise in cases following the holiday season and limited staffing, Montgomery County has decided to use the resources provided by the state and redistribute the job of contact tracing so they can focus on putting together teams to distribute the vaccine when mass distribution becomes available.

Ossenfort said he expects the rollout of the first round of vaccines within the next few weeks to healthcare and frontline workers.

The county executive said he wanted to keep the effort of contact tracing as local as possible for accuracy, and although the county is still at a manageable level in terms of ICU beds and hospitalization rates, he believes that the move away from tracing to vaccine distribution is the next step in battling the pandemic.

“We wanted to have local people calling local people for as long as we could, but we have reached the point now with the tremendous amount of work that’s going to be coming for the vaccine rollout where we realize now is the time to really bring in those resources from the state so we can start shifting the focus to the vaccine, which is really going to be a tremendous effort over the next few months.”

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