With an eye on serving three counties, Llano County Local Health Authority officials submitted an application on Monday, Jan. 25, to the Texas Department of State Health Services to become a COVID-19 vaccine hub.
If the application is approved and vaccines are allocated, the Llano County hub could serve an area of 30,000 people, including Llano, Mason, and San Saba counties. Earlier in January, the DSHS adjusted the state’s vaccine rollout plan to feature hubs, or large vaccination sites, to more quickly get doses to residents and simplify the registration process, but this has left some rural counties struggling to receive vaccines.
Since the state began distributing vaccines, Llano County has only received 100 doses at one provider, Hill Country Direct Care. Those doses were subsequently used to vaccinate individuals in Phase 1A of the state’s eligibility list, which includes healthcare workers.
While the hub application is under consideration by the DSHS, Llano County officials recommend residents in Phase 1A and Phase 1B, which includes ages 65 and older and those with serious medical conditions, to register with Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls or Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg. Both sites are vaccine hubs.
U.S. military veterans can also register through the Veterans Administration, which has a Kerrville location.
Residents are reminded that, due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines both nationally and statewide, registration doesn’t mean vaccines are currently available or guaranteed. Vaccine providers are fielding a high volume of calls and ask for patience.
Government and health officials continue to emphasize the importance of testing. Last August, the Llano County Commissioners Court authorized $157,000 of federal money from the CARES Act for the local health authority to ramp up testing.
“Through these efforts and working with our local healthcare providers and volunteers, we conducted three mass testing events and now have testing available in Llano, Kingsland, and Horseshoe Bay,” said Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham in a media release.
Almost 9,000 county residents have been tested so far, according to the release. As of Jan. 25, the county has reported 579 total confirmed COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths, according to DSHS numbers.
For more information on COVID-19 in the Highland Lakes, visit the DailyTrib.com coronavirus resources webpage.