This week, Nevada County will launch a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Whispering Pines business park. Though vaccine supplies remain very limited, Public Health officials have the systems in place to get shots into arms as soon as more vaccine becomes available. Vaccinations at the Whispering Pines clinic are by appointment only.
The new clinic is the result of close collaboration between the County and local healthcare providers, business owners, and community members.
“As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, this has been a true community effort,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann.
Space for the clinic is being provided by Dignity Health’s Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital with support from the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation.
“I am grateful to work with Nevada County in vaccinating our community against COVID-19. The process has been complex, but we are vaccinating people as quickly as we receive doses. I am also very pleased to make available our location on Whispering Pines and look forward to continuing to assist the vaccination process however needed,” said Brian Evans, President and CEO of Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
Internet service for the site was donated by Smarter Broadband and local artist Kathy Wronski has livened up the space with her vibrant paintings. Wronski, who lost her mother to COVID-19, said, “As an artist, it is always great to have your work on display but more important is to make people smile. I hope my art helps create a calm and relaxing distraction for people receiving their vaccinations.”
The County recently hired Donna Tully to oversee clinic operations. Tully has 41 years of experience working as a physician’s assistant. In her retirement, she travels with a team of healthcare providers to set up mobile clinics serving residents of developing countries who don’t have access to care. She has set up clinics all around the world, in all kinds of conditions. “I’m not used to having all of this equipment” she said about the Whispering Pines site. “Usually I carry in a rig and make due.”
The new Whispering Pines clinic is designed for ease of access. Tully said patients will receive their vaccine inside the clinic. “It’s all on one level, there is plenty of parking, and we have volunteers to assist,” said Tully. There is a comfortable waiting area where patients will spend fifteen minutes under observation after getting their shot. Public Health staff will manage the clinic and provide nurses to administer
vaccinations. The State of California is also assigning four additional nurses and five administrative support staff to the effort.
“With this local model, we can scale up or down, depending on vaccine supply coming to us from the State. We have the systems, staff, and infrastructure in place to vaccinate over a thousand people weekly if we have enough vaccine,” said Public Health Director Jill Blake.
Nevada County residents who are eligible for vaccination are now able to schedule appointments through the State’s MyTurn system as vaccine supplies allow. Those who are not yet eligible can sign up to be notified when it’s their turn to be vaccinated. An extremely limited number of appointments will be available this week due to limited vaccine supply. As more vaccine becomes available in Nevada County, the community will begin to see more appointments available on MyTurn.
“MyTurn will be the primary system to schedule your vaccine appointment going forward,” said Kellermann. “Our ability to release appointments is directly tied to vaccine supply, however. We’re confident that when the state allocates more vaccine, we will be ready to immunize our residents.” California residents can sign up for MyTurn by visiting myturn.ca.gov or calling 1-833-422-4255.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who has helped make this clinic a reality,” said Blake. “From County staff, to our partners at the hospital, to local businesses and artists, this really shows the spirit of this community to come together in a crisis. We’re confident that when vaccine becomes available, we will be ready to get it into the arms of our residents. Until then, we request you remain patient and continue to stay safe.”