public health

Condado De Sedgwick: Los Inmigrantes Indocumentados Deben Vacunarse

Feb 15, 2021
Hugo Phan / KMUW

Funcionarios del Condado de Sedgwick están aconsejando a los inmigrantes indocumentados que pueden recibir la vacuna COVID-19 sin exponerse a sí mismos o a sus familias a la vulnerabilidad legal de la aplicación de la ley de inmigración o de persecución civil o penal.

Sometimes, Becky Angell doesn’t even realize she’s started crying.

She’s been a nurse for seven years, and worked in an intensive care unit in Olathe for the past two. She loves her job and is used to seeing people die.

But the past months of caring for one desperately ill COVID-19 patient after another have left her overwhelmed and in tears at the dinner table and on the drive home from work.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

More than one in 10 Kansans have gotten at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. But that still leaves well over 2 million people who haven't even begun their two-dose vaccinations.

When and where will their chance come?

KMUW/File photo

A mandatory face mask policy and restrictions on restaurants and bars in Sedgwick County will continue for at least another month.

Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns issued a new health order Wednesday that maintains policies that have been in place since early November.

Sedgwick County Health Department workers set up a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.
Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

For starters, the COVID-19 vaccine doses intended for Ness County in west-central Kansas landed somewhere else.

“That was my first clue we had a problem,” said Carolyn Gabel, the county’s public health administrator.

Then someone from Dodge City called. Those vials bound for Ness City? They hadn’t been kept as cold as needed. They were no good anymore and needed replacing.

Now that a COVID-19 vaccine has reached Kansas, residents and employees of long-term care homes are expected to be among the first groups of people offered the vaccine.

The question is how many of them will choose to take it. Public health officials and the homes’ operators strongly endorse the vaccine, but polls have shown that many Americans remain skeptical or opposed.

The virus infecting thousands of Americans a day is also attacking the country's social fabric. The coronavirus has exposed a weakness in many rural communities, where divisive pandemic politics are alienating some of their most critical residents — health care workers.

A wave of departing medical professionals would leave gaping holes in the rural health care system, and small-town economies, triggering a death spiral in some of these areas that may be hard to stop.

Pat Gray speaks matter-of-factly about taking her last unassisted steps just before her 13th birthday in 1953.

She says she’d been suffering from a gastro-intestinal illness for a few days. Her fever was high, and her mother was caring for her on a sofa in the dining room of the family’s Kansas City, Kansas, home.

Gray was miserable, so her mother suggested she move to her own bed.

Morry Gash / AP

Hospitals across Kansas have started vaccinating frontline health care workers against COVID-19.

Public health officials have said a widely available vaccine will ultimately control the pandemic that has killed almost 2,500 people in the state.

As the vaccines become available to the general public, America Amplified is gathering and curating answers from experts to questions on the minds of public radio listeners across the country.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

FREDONIA, Kansas — Nick Baldetti resigned as director of the Reno County Health Department in July.

He left to head an effort to establish a school of health at McPherson College. It was a good opportunity, Baldetti said, but he likely would have stayed to see the department through the pandemic if not for the 80-hour work weeks, the hostile political environment and the threats to his family.