An upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Wahpeton has been rescheduled. Faith Church, Wahpeton, will hold the clinic from 9-11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Kayla Carlson, public health director for Richland County, North Dakota, said individuals registered for the Wahpeton clinic’s initial date of Thursday, Feb. 18 won’t have to do a thing. Their appointment times and registration are still valid for the Wednesday, Feb. 24 clinic.

The Richland County Health Department is now providing COVID-19 vaccinations to persons age 65 and older with or without high-risk medical conditions. A clinic will be held from 1-2:15 p.m Friday, Feb. 19 at Wyndmere Community Center in Wyndmere, North Dakota.

“Our health department has been allocated the Moderna vaccine,” Carlson said Tuesday, Feb. 16. “There are two types of vaccine, from Moderna and Pfizer. We have both in our community, but the health department thus far has gotten Moderna. It’s a two-dose vaccine, with the second dose given 28 days after the first.”

Carlson appeared Tuesday before both the Richland County Board of Commissioners and the Wahpeton City Council, answering questions and giving updates on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) reported Wednesday, Feb. 17 that 3,154 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date in Richland County. The number includes 1,842 total doses administered by the county health department, 1,160 first doses and 682 second doses as of Tuesday.

“We’re still asking that individuals wear face masks, practice 6 feet of separation and other forms of social distancing and follow guidelines about quarantining,” Carlson said.

Vaccination distribution has gone smoother and quicker than expected, Carlson said. It’s aided by increased allocations from the state of North Dakota. Following the 65 and older group, individuals of any age with at least two high-risk medical conditions will be vaccinated next. Childcare and K-12 workers are expected to follow.

“We’re coordinating with Sanford Health, Essentia Health and our pharmacies,” Carlson said. “The four of us meet weekly to discuss our strategy. It’s really a divide and conquer approach, moving through the priority groups together and ensuring a smooth rollout.”

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, in a Wednesday, Feb. 17 statement, praised several individuals.

“(Our) strong position — with our economy open, children in school and key COVID-19 metrics among the lowest in the county — is a testament to the fact that our well-tested emergency response systems and processes have met the challenge of the biggest health emergency in 100 years,” Burgum stated.

Burgum’s response was published the same day that NDDoH announced that the new variant strain of the SARC-CoV-2 virus first detected in the United Kingdom was identified in at least two new COVID-19 cases in North Dakota.

“This variant strain is thought to be more contagious which reinforces the importance of continuing to wear a mask, physical distancing, staying home when you’re sick, getting tested, and quarantining when you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive,” said Kirby Kruger, Disease Control Director for the NDDoH. “Getting the vaccine when it’s your turn is another great way to prevent the spread of the variant strain.”

Individuals who’ve attended Richland County’s vaccine clinics have shared positive feedback. One individual, Carlson said, compared the clinic to a well-oiled machine.

“Smiling faces greeted us. The process of checking in was friendly and efficient. Social distancing was so well-observed. Your staff was quick, well-versed in what they were doing and not rushed.”

Commissioner Sid Berg agreed, saying people cannot say enough good about how Richland County’s clinics. Commissioner Tim Campbell singled out the decision to hold clinics outside Wahpeton, in communities like Hankinson, Wyndmere and Colfax, North Dakota.

During their meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved reopening the primary entrances at the Richland County Law Enforcement Center and Richland County Courthouse, Wahpeton. Visitors are required to wear a mask in both buildings, but the primary entrances are no longer locked as of Wednesday, Feb. 17. The center has a primary entrance on its south side. The courthouse has primary entrances on its north and south sides.

“It was nice to see such a smooth process with such reassuring faces an attitudes,” said Carlson, continuing to share the satisfied individual’s comments. “I guess I should expect nothing less, as when we use services with Richland County for our folks, we are never disappointed.”

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