Hernando County extends the local state of emergency for another 7 days while COVID-19 vaccine appointments continue to be difficult to obtain. On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, registration for drive-through vaccine appointments at the Hernando County Fairgrounds began through the county’s online portal and all appointment times filled up in a matter of minutes.
The local state of emergency (Proclamation No. 2021-03) provides Hernando County Government the authority to take action as needed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community. This includes making emergency purchases, obtaining additional resources, renting equipment, hiring workers, and employing volunteers. The proclamation also allows the Board Of County Commissioners (BOCC) Chairman John Allocco to meet with County Administrator Jeff Rogers and the Emergency Policy Group and advise the rest of the board if a meeting is warranted.
County Administrator Jeff Rogers reported that all vaccine distribution expenses will be 100% reimbursed by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). “It might take years to get that funding, because the whole country is applying,” Rogers remarked.
Emergency Management Director Erin Thomas reported 1,658 cases since January 1, 2021 of which 1,179 have recovered. Thirteen people have died. On the morning of Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 62 new cases were reported and 8 more have died. Since the pandemic began, Hernando County has reported 9,548 COVID cases, and 327 deaths.
Also on Wednesday morning, the message on Publix’s registration portal read: “Coronavirus vaccine at Publix Pharmacy. All available COVID-19 vaccine appointments have been claimed. There is tremendous demand for the vaccine and a limited supply, so check back on Friday, January 29 after 6:00 a.m. EST (5:00 a.m. CST) for your next opportunity.” (https://www.publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida )
At this time, the vaccine is only available to residents of Florida over age 65, residents of long term care facilities, and healthcare providers who have direct contact with patients.
Although there are currently no vaccine appointments available through the county’s CDR HealthPro™ patient portal software, patient accounts can be created prior to scheduling a vaccination appointment.
An appointment may only be scheduled when an appointment window is live, the Health Department said.
Those with established accounts will be able to return to the platform to make an appointment without having to go through the initial steps of creating an account.
Hernando County received 1,000 doses of the vaccine, which will be administered on Jan 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St. in Brooksville. These doses will be distributed to those individuals who were able to make an appointment through the portal or by phone on Jan. 26.
Appointments are required to receive the vaccine and were made on a first-come, first-served basis. Walk-ups will not be accommodated, the Department said.
To register and create an account using the CDR HealthPro™ portal visit patientportalfl.com, or call 844-770-8548.
Hernando County Health Department Public Information Officer Ashley Thomas described what to expect when going to the Fairgrounds for a vaccine appointment on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, “This will be a drive-thru and everyone will remain in their vehicles. As far as any other expectations, we are working with the Sheriff’s Department on traffic control and will have an illuminated traffic message board to assist residents on where to turn. Our route setup will have residents enter onto Oliver Street, off of 41 so that traffic can get off that main stretch, then they will follow the traffic pattern from there. Because this is a strictly by appointment vaccine clinic, residents with confirmed appointments should show up at their appointment time, or just a few minutes early, but not hours beforehand.”
On Jan. 29 go to https://www.publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida after 6am for vaccine registration through Publix.
As soon as the county health department receives information on the next round of vaccines, they will release the date and time of appointment window. Check with the county health department online http://hernando.floridahealth.gov/index.html or through their social media outlets. Be sure to create an account with the online vaccine scheduling portal at patientportalfl.com.