Fulton County Commission update on COVID vaccine effort

The Board of Commissioners of Fulton County (Georgia) received a detailed update on the Coronavirus pandemic during its Recess Meeting, Wednesday, Jan.20. Due to the pandemic and the spread of the virus, the Commission met virtually as it has been since the outbreak.

The state-created Board of Health, along with county emergency response officials presented a report that revealed that Fulton County is averaging 7.4 deaths per day since January 11. The county had logged a total of 764 deaths (since the beginning of the pandemic) as of last week, and by January 18, had reached 816. In the same period, the number of cases have dropped but Fulton is still averaging approximately 607 cases per day; a positivity rate of 12.8 percent per day over the seven-day sampling.

On testing there has been improvement: to date Fulton County has logged 1.3 million cumulative tests. On the vaccine front, Fulton County has received 21,000 doses and has given out 17,150 shots.

The previous White House (Trump) administration has been criticized for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, from the initial days of testing and guidance regarding masks to its vaccine rollout. However, Commissioner Khadijah, praised local workers who are administering tests and giving vaccine shots.

“I have seen an increase in calls from constituents who have reached out to me to say, ‘thank you,’ ” said Commissioner Khadijah, addressing the Board of Health staff during the Commission meeting.
“As their commissioner, I want to thank you and your department because we are in unprecedented times and I do see a concerted effort; that you all are working hard,” she said.

“You all are being responsive. I know it’s not 100 percent, but I see a concerted effort and a change since we started testing and now with the vaccines, and I just wanted to say thank you.”

Commissioner Khadijah was elected from the county’s “Mighty 6” District (Southwest Atlanta, unincorporated Fulton County, and all Fulton cities south of I-20) which historically has been a hotbed of health disparities and now, concerns about Covid-19. But commissioners’ influence and power over public health has been diminished since 2017.

Though it uses “Fulton County” in its name, and still receives more than $10 million annually from Fulton County Government, the “Fulton County Board of Health” is not controlled by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners as it once was. In a Republican power grab, in 2017, the Georgia General Assembly, enacted a law, House Bill 885, sponsored by (now secretary of state) Republican Brad Raffensperger and six other Republican lawmakers (one who doesn’t even live in Fulton County) that seized and stripped local control of the county’s (then) Department of Health and Wellness—away from Fulton’s democratically-elected county commission, and replaced control with a state-created board.

VACCINE INFO: For vaccine scheduling updates and alerts, residents can follow the Fulton County Board of Health on Twitter @fultonhealth, on Instagram @fultonhealth, or on Facebook Fulton County Board of Health. For any additional questions visit the Fulton County Board of Health website or call the COVID-19 Hotline at (404) 613-8150. The Board of Health can also be reached via email: boh.communications@fultoncountyga.gov.

COVID TESTING INFO: For information on COVID-19 testing, visit www.fultoncountyga.gov/covid-19/covid-testing-sites

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