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March 7, 2021

2/15/2021 12:55:00 PM
Iowa County Health Department partners with Lands' End for COVID-19 vaccinations
The Comer Center at Dodgeville's Lands' End has been known as a fitness center for many years.
The constant that has stayed the same during the COVID-19 pandemic is that many things changed.
The change that happens with the Comer Center is that it has now become a site for the COVID-19 vaccination. The first day of vaccinations began on Monday February 8, and will continue for the time being.
"Lands' End has been a great partner throughout the pandemic when we had the first cases," Iowa County Health Department Director Debbie Siegenthaler said. "They've been on top of things."
The Comer Center has been closed since the second week of March of 2020 due to the pandemic, and had not planned to reopen in the fall. Conversations around considering the center for a vaccination clinic have been in the works, due to the limited supply of vaccinations available for the county.
Iowa County is currently in the Tier 1A phase, with vaccinations available to patients ages 65 and over. Up until the opening of the Lands' End location, vaccination clinics were being held at the Iowa County Health and Human Services Center as well as Upland Hills Health.
Lands' End had recently reached out to Iowa County Emergency Management Director Keith Hurlbert about touring the facility. Shortly after that conversation, Hurlbert, Siegenthaler, and staff members of the Iowa County Health Department went to the center to take a look.
To safely put it, they liked what they saw.
"It really is a beautiful facility," Siegenthaler said. "It enables us to really increase significantly, the throughput of our clinic."
Prior to the new clinic, there have been three or four vaccinators on site. The Comer Center has the capacity to vaccinate 160 people over a four hour period. It will eventually be able to accommodate up to 1600 people over eight hours.
"This space will let us go from four or five vaccinators all the way up to 20 vaccinators because it's got the space to really allow for that," Siegenthaler said.
That's with considering parking accommodations, traffic management, and recruitment of vaccinators and volunteers.
There has been much anxiety and frustration for patients waiting for the vaccinations to be available. Hurlbert and Siegenthaler explained that it's not easy having to turn someone away who doesn't meet the criteria yet to receive the vaccine.
Around two weeks ago after looking at the numbers, the Iowa County Health Department received 400 vaccinations while Upland Hills Health received 500. With approximately 4,000 citizens in the 65 and over age range, Hurlbert stated that it could take four to five weeks to get vaccinations to that demographic.
"I wish we were flooded with vaccines and that we have the exact opposite problem we have now," Hurlbert said. "We have the facility, now it comes down to having the vaccine."
Siegenthaler added that the allocation process is difficult, and it's hard to know what each county will acquire.
"A couple weeks ago we put in our allocation, and we only got 50% of that availability back, it was disappointing," Siegenthaler said. "We are excited to have this facility. We just want to save lives, get people in a good place, and get our community, businesses and schools, and everybody, back to whatever the new normal is."
The Iowa County Health Department rolls-out information pertaining to the vaccine. Please follow the Iowa County COVID-19 website, the Iowa County Health Department Facebook page, and the Upland Hills Health website and Facebook page for updates.

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