Monroe County continues to combat COVID-19

Despite more vaccination clinics appearing around Monroe and Monroe County, the MCHD vaccination clinic hosted in the H Building is continuing to provide services with the help of volunteers from medical fields and the National Guard (Photo by Julianna Metdepenningen).

Monroe has become a hot spot for COVID-19 cases in the last few months.

As a result, the community continues to try and keep up with these changes and keep residents safe.

Schools in the Monroe County area have been affected by the case increases. Schools like Monroe High School were back to in-person learning  before switching back to online learning within a month.

Mackenzie Mielke, a junior at Monroe High, said, “Not having a set schedule is so frustrating. I know they are working the best they can but it’s starting to cause more stress.”

Jefferson High School followed a schedule of in-person four days a week and one virtual day. However, Jefferson announced April 19 the school was moving fully to remote learning.

Superintendent of Jefferson Schools, Mike Petty, said he has seen a large increase in quarantines over the last two weeks, including both staff and students. Throughout the year Jefferson High has had 76 students, 25 staff members tested positive, he said.

“Its not about the positive cases that brought us to moving to e-learning but the number of quarantines, which have left some classes with only five students in class,” said Petty.

With the increase in COVID-19 cases and vaccination opportunities, the vaccination clinic located at the MCCC H Building has received less patients.

Bridget Huss, one of the clinic organizers, said she was not surprised with this sudden decrease.

“Now that the vaccine is more accessible in drug stores like Walgreens or Kroger people are going where it’s more convenient for them,” Huss said.

Huss said her and her team are thinking of cutting down the number of days they are at the clinic as a result of vaccine availability.

The clinic is still offering the three brands of vaccine Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes a single dose which is more convenient for those who have a hard time getting out of the house, Huss said.

The other two brands offered are Pfizer, for young adults 16-17, and Moderna.

Anyone aged 16-17 must come with a parent or guardian in order to receive the vaccine, Huss said. Since these patients are underage, they are only able to get the Pfizer shot.

“We saw a spike in cases when students and families were coming back from spring break because everywhere you go COVID restrictions are different, like not needing a mask or less social distancing,” Huss said.

The main cases are coming from younger students and those in their late 20s to mid 30s because the clinic’s first priory was the elderly.

“We are still encouraging the younger generation to get the vaccine in hopes that it will slow the spread,” Huss said.

Mielke urges students like herself to get the vaccine.

“I am extremely thank for what everyone is doing to try and protect us,” Mielke said. “But if we as students don’t do our part to help out then this pandemic will not see an end anytime soon,”