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Thanking our tireless COVID-19 volunteers

Thurston County’s battle with the Coronavirus has been long and stressful. According to the regional COVID-19 dashboard, to date more than 11,000 residents tested positive with nearly 700 hospitalizations and 100 deaths. But the arrival of vaccines and centralized vaccination sites have dramatically reduced its spread and allowed us to start the slow return to community gatherings and more normal life.

One of the largest of these sites was hosted at South Puget Sound Community College and staffed by tireless volunteers and a partnership of medical professionals. Though the site closed June 25, let’s take a minute to thank them for their service and hard work.

The SPSCC site opened on March 12, 2021. Volunteers and organizers worked long hours in the drive-through setting to administer 35,632 individual vaccine doses during its three-month tenure. Thurston County Public Health and Social Services provided administrative and logistical oversight and were joined by volunteers from the Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps (vaccinators, vaccine draw), United Way of Thurston County, Thurston County Medic One (medical support), and Maxim Healthcare (vaccinators, vaccine draw), explains Public Information Specialist Meredith Mathis from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.

These 3,075 volunteers donated more than 16,500 hours at this location alone and many have since transferred to other vaccine sites around town. Upcoming locations for vaccine shots include Capital Mall, the Westside’s Yauger Park, civic offices, schools, and festivals throughout the county. Appointments are always encouraged but most offer walk-up availability. Simply call 360.867.2610 for assistance in scheduling or find out more on the county’s COVID-19 Vaccine Event portal.

“Throughout the county and throughout the state, we are seeing more highly transmissible strains of COVID-19, so it essential that you continue to take precautions. The most proactive thing you can do is get vaccinated,” says Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek. Warm weather and loosened restrictions don’t mean we can stop taking precautions. Masking, hand sanitizer, and social distancing will be with us for a little while longer.

Many organizations welcome volunteers with a caring heart and the extra time to lend a helping hand. During the long months battling COVID-19, anyone with medical training and the ability to spend hours vaccinating our community became literal lifesavers to those around them. They’ve earned our gratitude and thanks for all they’ve done and continue to do. Do your part to support them in any way possible.