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UPDATE: Marquette County Health Department working to expand registrations for COVID-19 vaccine

The pre-registration system isn’t available yet, but more details will be announced in the coming days.
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 9:04 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette County Health Department (MCHD) plans to increase registration opportunities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Health Officer Jerry Messana updated the Marquette County Board during its meeting Tuesday night. He explained the department is moving to a pre-registration system which will allow people to get their name on a list for an appointment. When MCHD receives confirmation about how much vaccine will be allocated to the department, it will use the list to call people to schedule appointments to receive the vaccine.

Community Health Director Brianna Mileski says the pre-registration system will give the MCHD a better idea of how many residents are still waiting for a vaccine.

“We hope our allocation stays the same or, obviously, potentially increases and we’re able to continue with what we’re doing,” said Mileski. “The more people we get vaccinated in Marquette County, the better off we’ll be in the long run.”

On January 20, almost 630 Marquette County residents were vaccinated at Northern Michigan University. Mileski says by the end of the week, a total of 1800 people will have received the vaccine.

Those vaccinated on Wednesday say they’re looking toward a brighter and healthier future for the county.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” said Marquette resident Ann Russ. “I think it’s good for the community and good for us individually.”

Russell Kangas, also from Marquette, added, “I’m really glad that this has been available for us. It’s something that should be done, so everybody should come out and get it done.”

“If you want to live longer, this is definitely what you want to do,” said Marquette resident Carol Watt. “Even though you do have to still use the masks and the distancing, it makes you feel stronger that you can fight this off.”

The pre-registration process is still being prepared and is not yet operational. Do not call the health department to pre-register at this time. The department is increasing the infrastructure and staff to manage the pre-registration process and further details will be provided in the next couple of days. Updates are also posted on the department’s Facebook page and website.

Demand for the vaccine has been very high in Marquette County. It’s estimated about 8,000 Marquette County residents have received a shot so far. The MCHD is increasing the amount of staff to handle phone registration from six to 20.

“So we will man the phones during business hours, eight to five for days until the traffic goes down and then we’ll maintain a line commensurate with the amount of volume we expect for ongoing traffic with the expectation that we can ramp it up or bring it down,” Messana said.

Messana also said the MCHD has a permanent site at NMU’s Northern Center for distribution of the vaccine. The department is also exploring other sites in western and southern Marquette County.

The Marquette County Board also sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recommending business restrictions, specifically for restaurants in the county, be lifted or eased due to the downward trend of positive COVID-19 cases.

Marquette County letter to Gov. Whitmer, dated Jan. 19, 2021
Marquette County letter to Gov. Whitmer, dated Jan. 19, 2021(WLUC)

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