49.2 percent of county residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine

Richland County Health Services Director Kayla Carlson addresses the Richland County Commission at the Tuesday, April 6, commission meeting.

49.2 percent of Richland County has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a burn ban is currently in effect and more was discussed at the April 6 Richland County Commission meeting.

Richland County Health Department

The Richland County Health Department has finished phase one of the state’s vaccine rollout and is currently in phase two, said Kayla Carlson, Richland County Health Services director.

Phase two includes all individuals 18 years or older who are North Dakota employees or residents.

“The reason we’re 18 and older is because we’ve been getting Moderna and that goes to 18 and older. If we had Pfizer it would be 16 and older,” Carlson said.

As of the April 6 meeting, the health department has administered 3,653 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. County-wide, 8,492 doses have been administered from all vaccine providers.

“(It’s) kind of exciting to see that Richland County has administered almost half of those …” Carlson said.

The one-dose coverage rate for individuals 18 and older in Richland County is 49.2 percent.

“Getting pretty good numbers there that we have just about half our eligible population with one dose,” Carlson said.

33.2 percent of the county has received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the only single-dose vaccine currently available.

Individuals who have received the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their first and only dose. Moderna and Pfizer recipients are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose.

Herd immunity begins when approximately 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, Carlson said, although ideally that number would 80-90 percent.

Carlson said the state is no longer allocating doses due to diminished demand. Instead, the county now orders the amount of COVID-19 vaccines they need.

“Before it was allocation — here’s your set amount that you have to make sure you use by the end of the week — the state started to see a decent decline in uptake and counties that weren’t able to use their allocations,” Carlson said.

She said the health department ordered Johnson & Johnson this week due to higher uptake from the public.

Carlson also noted there was an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout March and has been monitoring cases following Easter weekend.

“Yesterday we had a little dip in cases, hopefully, that’s because we’re moving in the right direction, but it’s not uncommon over the weekends, especially holiday weekends, I see a decrease in individuals going to get tested. We’ll continue to monitor that,” she said.

Last week, there were 30 active COVID-19 cases in Richland County. As of April 6, there are 23 active cases in Richland County.

Richland County Emergency Management

A burn ban has been in effect in Richland County since Tuesday, March 31.

Over the weekend of April 3 and April 4 three fires occurred in Richland County as the result of burning garbage. Two fires also occurred on Monday, April 5, said Brett Lambrecht, Richland County emergency management director.

Lambrecht presented an amended version of the burn ban at the April 6 county commission meeting. The commission approved the amended burn ban.

Open burning is prohibited, including the burning of leaves, grass clippings, garbage, construction debris, fallen trees, crop residue, hay land, sloughs, campfires and bonfires.

Excluded from the burn ban are controlled devices, including grills, patio fireplaces, chimneys, gas camp stoves and wood smokers as long as those devices are on a hard non-organic surface and 15 feet away from vegetation with a fire extinguisher or water on site.

“We don’t want to shut people’s lives down and say you can’t do anything,” Lambrecht said.

The burn ban cites “unusually hot and dry conditions this spring” and “frequent wind gusts, in excess of 25 mph with abrupt change in speed and direction” as the reason for extreme or very high fire danger.

North Dakota as a whole is currently experiencing a drought.

Richland County Highway Department

The Richland County Highway Department is still in the process of tearing down the highway department’s Hankinson shop that was totaled from a fire on Jan. 18, said Jesse Sedler, Richland County Engineer.

Selder said the department and the contractor are working to clear and contain debris from the site.

The Richland County Commission unanimously approved the purchase of three vehicles to replenish the ones totaled from the fire.

A semi-tractor was approved to be purchased for $26,500. Insurance paid out $27,900 on the totaled semi-tractor.

A sign truck was approved to be purchased for $28,500. Insurance paid out $35,000 on the totaled sign truck.

A new 2022 belly dump was approved to be purchased for $49,230. Insurance paid out $41,000 on the totaled belly dump.

The next Richland County Commission meeting is Tuesday, April 20.

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