Wednesday, key agency leaders met to further discuss and plan for the future vaccination of the next eligible group. Leaders took part in a webinar about the vaccination process. Those in attendance at the meeting included CEO Frank Corcoran of Geary Community Hospital, CEO Lee Wolf of Konza Health, Director Dr. Tammy VonBusch of Geary County Health Department, Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, Geary County Health Medical Advisor, and Garry Berges, head of Geary County Emergency Management.

During the webinar, state officials made clear that all of Kansas is still in phase 1A, meaning vaccinations for healthcare workers and those in longterm care facilities. Until everyone covered by phase 1A has received their COVID-19 vaccinations, the community cannot move on to Phase 1B.

However, once Phase 1B has been completed, the next phase of vaccinations will start. A complete list of what each phase entails is still in development on the state level and may be announced in the near future. When local officials know what the next phase entails, execution of that phase can begin, according to Berges. Local officials continue planning the distribution of the vaccine for different phases. When local officials have more information, that information will be released to the public.

The Geary County Health Department has begun allowing county residents to sign up for a HIPAA-compliant COVID-19 vaccination contact list. Based on information provided via that form, the health department will sort people into the phase groups they qualify for. When your phase of the vaccination process begins, you will be contacted and told where to go to be vaccinated.

To fill out the form, check under the COVID-19 page of the Geary County website at www.GearyCounty.org or click the link on the health department’s Facebook page.

For those who do not have computer access, please call the health department at 785-762-5788.

In the meantime, free, drive-up COVID-19 testing will continue in the former Dick Edwards parking lot at 375 Grant Ave., where they have been offered since mid-December. This testing, provided by the state, will continue through the end of January. The testing site is open for testing 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. seven days a week.

Anyone may receive a free test, whether they have symptoms or not.

Appointments are encouraged, though not strictly required, and can be made online at www.tourhealth.com.

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