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Countryside receives first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Danae Milbrandt
Montevideo American-News

On Thursday, Dec. 31, Countryside Public Health announced that they would be receiving and beginning their COVID-19 vaccinations that week.

Countryside has reported that case numbers within the five-county area they serve has seen a steady decrease in active cases recently. New cases, as well as hospitalizations continue to be reported, however, the spike that took place through much of November and December appears to continue to drop. Dashboard numbers can be viewed at https://countryside.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/cbc4f769e05a45a2abc3237531f4cdac.

“We continue to urge our communities to be vigilant and steadfast in their fight against COVID-19 by masking up, practicing social distancing, staying home when sick, and staying home when possible,” said Countryside Public Information Officer Andrea Mills. “This is as important as ever as we enter the next phase of our fight against COVID-19.  We continue to urge those who have been vaccinated or have had COVID-19 to follow these guidelines as well.”

Countryside started their vaccination clinics this past week, which included all EMS staff in the area who are EMSRB Certified. The staff were sent clinic registration information previously to register for vaccination through MDH’s prepmod registration site. In addition, Countryside is currently working to identify and schedule assisted living, and additional agencies within priority groups to receive vaccines.

Those interested in reviewing information regarding the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are able to do so on Countryside’s website, at https://www.countrysidepublichealth.org/covid-19-information.

Mills said, “We are working on getting information about vaccine safety on our social media sights and will be posting regularly, we encourage partners to help spread this message as well. The link https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/index.jsp contains a good visual on Vaccine phases and a short, helpful video on vaccine safety.“

Countryside would like to give some COVID-19 safety tips and reminders to those in the area, which include:

• The COVID vaccine is recommended, but not required.

• Whether an employee is vaccinated or not, continue to follow masking and social distancing guidelines within the workplace.

• If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have received monoclonal antibody treatment (ex. BAM), you will need to wait 90 days to receive the vaccine.

• You cannot receive any other vaccine (ex. flu, shingles) within 14 days before, or after receiving the COVID vaccine.

According to Mills, testing sites continue to remain open across the area, and questions on testing and what to do after getting tested continue to come in regularly. In addition to local healthcare facilities, the MDH website has additional testing options and information available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/index.html. Community testing site days and hours vary based upon location, and schedules can be viewed at https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/community-testing.jsp.

For specific local COVID-19 data, visit the Countryside Public Health dashboard.

Countryside also encourages you to utilize their social media sites to share information as well, in particular vaccine safety and phase information, as it becomes available.

Visit their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/countrysidepublichealth; or Instagram at: www.instagram.com/countrysidepublichealth.

“We would also like to take a moment to thank all of our Community Health Board Members, County Commissioners, area Healthcare partners, Law Enforcement/EP Staff, EMS Staff, and the many, many partners for your diligent and hard work through 2020 to keep our communities and residents safe. The hard work and commitment to the safety of our community is a testament to why we are proud to call this area home.  On behalf of all of us at Countryside Public Health, we THANK YOU ALL and wish you a very happy & healthy 2021!” said Mills.