PPS to hold COVID-19 vaccination clinic Sept. 23

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska Public Schools has scheduled a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23 in the high school gym, Superintendent David Cash said.

Cash said the vaccination clinic will be open to all persons aged 12 years and older. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered, he said. To register, contact the administrative office of Pawhuska Public Schools.

It will be a parental decision whether individual students actually receive vaccine shots, but the public schools would like to make the opportunity available, Cash said.

Pawhuska Public Schools has also become a key provider of COVID-19 tests for the town of about 3,350 people.

Cash said Sept. 10 that the school district gives perhaps 8-10 tests a day, on most days. In the first two hours of Sept. 10, the school district tested some 20 people, he said.

The school district tests students, faculty members and other school staff members, Cash said. It has also tested spouses of employees and family members of students, he said. It is common for vehicles to be lined up in the morning, waiting on availability of testing services, he said.

The superintendent said Pawhuska Public Schools has communicated to students that if they aren't feeling good, they should consider being tested for COVID-19 in order to know for sure whether that is the problem.

"The only way to know for sure is to be testing people," he said. Cash said the school district has ordered more testing supplies.

Other organizations providing COVID-19 testing include the Osage County Health Department. The Health Department told the Journal-Capital that testing is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at its Pawhuska and Skiatook office locations. To be sure of the right hours for testing, contact the Osage County Health Department at 918-287-3740.

Pawhuska physician M. Cameron Rumsey explained to the newspaper that Pawhuska Hospital and the Pawhuska Family Medical Clinic, which is located on the hospital campus, provide COVID-19 testing as an element of an overall visit to the clinic or an overall Emergency Room visit to the hospital. The tests are not provided as an isolated service, separate from the clinic or Emergency Room visits, he clarified. Rumsey said that having enough tests to administer has been an issue.

The Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Center, operated by the Osage Nation, conducted employee COVID-19 testing on Wednesday, Sept. 8 in an effort to try to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus among the tribe's staff members. For more information about the COVID-19 services offered by the Osage Nation, call the ON's COVID Hotline at 918-287-0028.

The Osage Nation said in a news release Sept. 10 that it tested 382 of its employees for COVID-19 on Sept. 8, and there were no positive test results for the presence of the illness. The Osage Nation said all of its current COVID-19 safety measures, including a mask mandate issued by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, will remain in place.

In their Sept. 7 meeting, Osage County commissioners maintained their policy of making protective face masks available to visitors to county buildings, including the courthouse, who wish to wear them. The commissioners have been keeping track of COVID-19 case numbers supplied by the state Department of Health, but have not taken any stricter measures for the time being than to make face masks available. There is no mandate to wear masks in county facilities.