Some Garvin County officials are wanting to stay prepared for anything COVID-19 related that might come this way, while also keeping an eye on the possibility a vaccine for the virus could be available soon.

Dave Johnson, who serves as the county's emergency management director, told all three commissioners this week a COVID vaccine could come as early as next month.

If the vaccine does come in a few weeks Johnson is quick to add it would go to those who need it first with the general public to come later.

“The chances are we could have a vaccine by November, but if that happens it will prioritized on who gets it first,” Johnson said during the commissioners' regular weekly meeting.

If an actual COVID-19 vaccine is made available he believes it will likely first go to sick patients who have tested positive for the virus and others such as hospital workers and first responders.

“It would probably be January or February before the public is offered the vaccine,” he said. “My guess is we'll still have to use masks and social distancing for a while.

“With the climate right now I don't know how many people will take the vaccine whenever it is available. There are some who won't want to take it.”

Even with the prospects for a vaccine later Johnson says right now is the time to get even more virus related supplies because of reimbursements made possible through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

In fact, he would like to see the county order plenty of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“I would like to make a significant order of gloves and masks now so we can get reimbursed. I don't think we'll see the same kind of CARES Act in 2021 like we saw in 2020.”

Assistant District Attorney Carol Dillingham told commissioners work is still moving forward to get all the numbers so even more COVID-19 related reimbursement requests can be submitted soon.

“The biggest push is to get an accurate account of payroll for sheriff's personnel, detention center personnel and emergency management personnel,” she said.

The specific time frame is March 1 through Oct. 1 as hopes are to get some of the payroll costs reimbursed through the CARES Act.

Dillingham said the county is approaching its maximum level of reimbursement requests, which could wind up falling in the $1.2 million range.

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