Trumbull County health experts looking to continue cutting back on vaccine wait times

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As the number of people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine grows, many are also preparing to get their second dose

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Although wait times for Trumbull County’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the fairgrounds have improved drastically since the first day, health officials want to get more shots in arms at a faster pace.

As the number of people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine grows, many are also preparing to get their second dose.

Trumbull County health experts have come up with a way to handle the demand. Using money from the federal CARES Act, they plan to build a 120-foot long tented structure to the left of the Grand Stand at the fairgrounds, similar to the one being used in Columbiana County.

“The proposed structure has three lanes of vehicles–approximately six vehicles long for each lane. It will be heated and have doors at both ends so it won’t be like a wind tunnel,” said Jack Simon from the Trumbull County Combined Health District.

The project is estimated to cost anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000.

Health officials say it meets the requirements for use of COVID relief funds to pay for it. However, county commissioners have some reservations and want to be sure.

“We need a legal option to turn this around quickly,” said County Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa.

An alternative would be to modify the old Bazetta Fire Department by cutting another door into the back to add a second distribution lane inside.

That also comes with its own logistical challenges, such as dealing with demolition, the structure itself and timing of it since it can’t be done during their clinics.

Health leaders told commissioners time is of the essence.

“We have pressed upon the need for them to move rapidly, efficiently and fast. We need to make some decisions,” said Howland Fire Chief James Pantalone.

“We understand the importance of this. We understand that whether we modify the existing structure or whether we build a new structure that it’s going to help with the congestion and traffic, so we’re going to do everything we can to get the ball rolling,” said Cantalamessa.

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