Last week, San Miguel County Public Health announced a phasing update regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, beginning Monday, folks who fall under Phase 1B.2 and Phase 1B.3 can get ready to receive the first of two vaccination shots.

Phase 1B.2 includes residents 65 years of age and older, teachers, child care, and other school staff like bus drivers, safety workers and administrative teams. It also includes employees essential to state government. Public health said this phase is projected to take up to three weeks pending supply, according to a county news release.

Phase 1B.3 will cover frontline essential workers, including those who work in postal, grocery, agriculture and public transportation industries. It also includes faith leaders, food service employees, and residents with two or more comorbidities, or high-risk conditions, 16 years of age and older. This phase is projected to begin on March 5 and could take three months to complete.

San Miguel County Public Health, the Telluride Regional Medical Center and Uncompahgre Medical Center (UMC) will work together as the county’s three vaccine distribution centers to reach all those eligible for the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Lindsey Mills, county public information consultant, told The Norwood Post that so far 1,104 vaccines have been administered, as of last week. Public health updates the numbers weekly on Tuesdays.

She agreed that UMC becoming a registered vaccine distribution site allows for more accessibility for county residents, though nobody has been denied the vaccine. She said the process has been “exceptionally efficient” and “nobody has wanted for one, except for those not eligible.” UMC providing them simply provides more access.

Last week, even before the drop in age limit was announced, more than 300 county residents over the age of 65 had pre-registered for the vaccine.

In the news release, public health said school staff in Telluride and Norwood should hear from their district leadership about registering for the vaccine. Others in Phase 1B.2 may contact their primary care provider or register through public health at bit.ly/smcvaccineinfo.

Mills said while anyone can register now, the county is not advertising so or suggesting that, since people must wait until their phase is called for distribution.

“Pre-register is all you can do at this point,” she told The Norwood Post. “Until your time comes, you have to wait.”

She said she could not be sure how many vaccines would be available next week. She said every bit that the county is allocated will be used. She said none have been wasted. 

“Every dose that has been allocated to San Miguel County and its distribution sites have been given out in two weeks at the latest,” she said.

In Norwood, vaccines are administered at UMC on Wednesdays.

Free COVID-19 testing in Norwood is happening again at Pig Palace on Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Up to 40 people can be accommodated on those days.

At this point, the majority of the disease burden is currently in the east end of the county, in Telluride and Mountain Village. Public health said it’s working to balance that with regard to policy changes being considered at this time. Still, representatives say the West End is inextricably linked to the mountain resort community’s record high rates of transmission as a result of commuting for work.