Justin Benfield, Regional Chief Operating Officer for Prisma Health, updated the Laurens City Council on what is happening at Prisma concerning COVID and addressed some questions about the vaccine at their meeting on Tuesday night.
This surge of COVID-19 cases is 2.5 times greater than the last and the surge inside the hospital is also greater. Benfield is thankful for Prisma, their team, and their resources.
The hospital is at 133 percent capacity. The COVID-19 unit, on floor 3, opened Monday, January 18. There are 15 beds on the floor for phase 1. This unit is part of a state project.
Benfield stressed that the community follow standard precautions. This includes wearing a mask, washing hands, and not gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
When it concerns the vaccine, Prisma is using the Pfizer version. They are in phase 1B which includes people over the age of 70. To set up an appointment visit prismahealth.org/vaccine. After starting the process, the CDC will send out an email to schedule the appointments. There are also 2 questionnaires to fill out once someone receives the email from the CDC.
Ingles and other community pharmacies will also be administering the vaccine. It is important to remember which vaccine you take in the first round because that will be the same vaccine you will need for a second dose.
City Attorney Tom Thompson presented the council with second reading of Ordinance 11-20-11, the rezoning of 31 acres located near Bi-Lo. The rezoning will be from B4 to R3. This ordinance passed unanimously on the second reading.
Thompson also presented the first reading of Ordinance 11-20-02, Annexation of Parcels 325-00-00-04 also located near Bi-Lo. This is 126 acres of land owned by Chen Investments. This ordinance was also passed unanimously on the first reading.
Council also discussed an ordinance to regulate parades, events, block parties, performances, filing, and picketing in the city.
Mayor Nathan Senn said, “The need for this ordinance is urgent, due to the events of last year, where we had five different occasions where us not having a proper ordinance on the books made us unable to deal with, and it put our law enforcement in a dangerous position.”
Councilor Martin Lowry asked that the vote be tabled so the ordinance could be studied more.
“I have a problem with voting for something on first reading, knowing that you don’t like it, even though you can still reject it on second reading," said Lowry.
Council agreed to table the vote on this ordinance, hold a called meeting to vote after they have time to review it. This will allow it to be up for 2nd reading at the February meeting.