Geary Community Hospital CEO Frank Corcoran said COVID-19 vaccines had been distributed to GCH employees during a recent update to the Geary County Commission.

The hospital received abut 200 doses of the new vaccine — 100 of the Moderna shot and 100 of the Pfizer-BioNtech one — which it has used to inoculate its workers an several members of its executive board against the virus.

Corcoran said he was uncertain when the next shipments of the vaccine would arrive at the hospital.

There are not enough doses of the vaccine to begin the phase of vaccinating members of the general public yet, but this is the intent when the vaccine becomes more widely available. Plans are being worked out to get those who are in the most need — those who are most often exposed to the virus an those who are the most at-risk from it — their shots before anyone else and then allow the general public to be vaccinated.

When the vaccines become more widely available, local healthcare officials plan to let people know publicly.

The new COVID-19 vaccines need to be given as a double dose, as two shots. Shots of the Pfizer vaccine have to be given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine has to be given 28 days apart. Both vaccines have proven more than 90 percent effective against the virus in initial testing.

Corcoran also addressed the commission about general GCH operations.

The hospital has maintained a fairly consistent census of around 60 inpatients for the last six months, he said.

GCH is still operating at a loss, but not to the degree it has in the past, with losses in the hundreds of thousands rather than in the millions.

“Our goal is to get the operations positive,” Corcoran said.

The hospital has more cash on hand than it did around this time last year. Last year in November, GCH had about two days’ worth of cash on hand. This boost is largely due to COVID-19-related aid distributed to the hospital and others like it.

“The COVID dollars really helped out,” Corcoran said.

In non-pandemic related news, the hospital has contracted with a new anesthesia company called Sweet Dreams.

“It sets the stage for us to look at pain management,” from the aspect of a longterm solution rather than just prescribing someone a round of pain pills, Corcoran said of the hospital’s involvement with is company.

GCH is also seeking another orthopedic surgeon to replace one who had been flying in from Georgia and who chose to stop working with the hospital and to add a new OB-GYN to its staff, hopefully to work alongside current gynecologist Dr. Anwar Khoury.

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