More than a dozen health care providers have been hired and began working Feb. 8 at the Hamilton County Health Dept. COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the 4-H Fairgrounds, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville. Prior to the personnel additions, Hamilton County Health Dept. employees and local fire department employees have staffed the clinic.
“The way that the health department is working right now is unsustainable,” Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman stated. “We need to give them the support they need to do the other vital work they’re tasked with, but don’t currently have time to do – things like food inspections, health education, HIV testing, immunizations and vital records.”
A press release from Hamilton County stated the county is in a position to bring on more contract help as vaccine supplies increase. All expenses are expected to be fully reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan.”
In addition to increasing staff, the clinic also moved from the Annex Building to the Exhibition Hall, which is six times larger. The new facility will allow the health department to administer four times the number of vaccinations it now administers when more doses become available.
“The fairgrounds is a county facility and has always been intended to meet county needs,” Altman stated. “This space gives us so much more capacity and flexibility.”
In addition to canceling all events originally scheduled for the Exhibition Hall, the building had to be retrofitted to meet the health department’s needs. The county’s Building and Grounds Dept. installed refrigeration storage for the Moderna vaccine. The department also installed a generator to ensure doses aren’t lost due to power outages. The county’s information technology department ran 600 feet of network cables to provide internet access and provided dozens of computers.
“The health department gets an awful lot of credit for vaccine distribution because we’re on the frontlines of the pandemic,” stated Jason LeMaster, interim administrator for the health department. “But some of the real heroes are the ones behind the scenes. Dozens of county agencies have gone out of their way to ensure the residents of Hamilton County get the first-rate service they’ve come to expect. We’re lucky to have the partnerships we possess.”