Leon County hospitals, elected leaders host weekly panel addressing COVID-19

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 18:46:23-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — On Friday, top leaders in Leon County from local government to the medical field gathered via Zoom to provide the community with a look at where things stand now with the coronavirus.

Local hospitals say they are treating fewer people for COVID-19, but Capital Regional Medical Center's CEO Dr. Trey Blake says it's too early to celebrate.

"We're not out of the woods yet, but we hope that this trend continues," said Dr. Blake.

Leon County Health Department Health Officer Claudia Blackburn said right now the positivity rates are increasing.

Currently, that rate is at 8.8 percent, with more than 200 positive cases per day. The county's total cases to just under 25,000.

The hope now is with the increased rollout of the vaccine, the positivity rate will decrease.

So far, 39 percent of people 65 and older in Leon County have received the vaccine. Now, the health department is working on making it easier for more people to get vaccinated.

"We did close the online registration because our system right now is cumbersome and we're getting a new scheduling system from the state and we will reopen the appointments when we work through this list and with that new scheduling system," said Blackburn.

That new system is expected to be up and running in about two weeks.

The panel also spent time talking about ways to get more African-Americans vaccinated.

"When a third of our community is African-American and only eight percent of those who have received the vaccine are African-American, I think that is an issue that we need to pay attention to. it's unacceptable and we need to concentrate on vaccination equity as well in our community," said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey.

Dr. Jeanne' Freeman, Neighborhood Medical Health's CEO said the necessary change starts with having more conversations.

"We need to put our focus on educating our community about what's best for us as we move forward. there's a mistrust of authority at some times," said Dr. Freeman

Something Bond Community Health is already working on.

"Our efforts will be to double down on those who did not take the vaccine on the first go around to see if we can convince those reluctant people to come in," said CEO Dr. Temple Robinson.

Dr. Temple Robinson said her team is calling and even visiting people who now qualify for the vaccine.

The Village Square and area hospitals will host the informational panel every Friday at noon, and can been seen on Facebook.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering