Pullman Regional Hospital is reporting 7,500 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Whitman County as of Sunday.

PRH Chief Clinical Officer Jeannie Eylar gave an update regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the county during a monthly PRH Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday.

Whitman County has been receiving vaccine distributions since Dec. 18. People age 65 and older are now eligible for vaccines.

Eylar said Palouse Medical, PRH, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Whitman Hospital and Whitman County Public Health have been working together to coordinate the vaccine distribution.

“Whitman County has got this collaborative effort that most counties don’t have,” Eylar said. “And so we should be really really proud of what we’re doing.”

However, the state does not allot Whitman County a consistent number of doses week to week. For example, Eylar said PRH and Whitman Hospital each received only 100 doses this week because the state allotted most of its doses to mass vaccination sites that were created last week in Spokane, Wenatchee, Ridgefield and Kennewick.

Eylar said the county is hoping for more doses in the future because the hospitals, SEL and Palouse Medical have scheduled regular COVID-19 vaccine clinics every week. These sites find out how many doses they will receive every Monday, she said.

PRH has scheduled clinics every Wednesday and Friday through the middle of March. She said Wednesdays typically draw 120 people while Fridays draw 120 to 160.

PRH has administered 1,300 doses. It has vaccinated 327 of its own employees and Eylar said the hospital is hoping 75 percent of its staff will be vaccinated by March 1.

The PRH board also heard a financial report for 2020 from PRH Chief Financial Officer Steve Febus.

He said the hospital currently has $3.3 million in revenue over expenses.

The hospital has received $15.5 million in COVID-19-related funds, including $6 million from CARES Act funding and $9.5 million from Medicare. It lost $5.8 million in revenue because of the pandemic.

According to a presentation from PRH Chief Development Officer Rueben Mayes, PRH received $955,000 in donations toward its COVID-19 Emergency Fund that it set up in March to offset the lost revenue.

PRH is continuing to explore placing an expansion of the hospital’s taxing district on this November’s general election ballot.

A PRH strategic planning committee recommends that the hospital taxing district be expanded to coincide with the current boundaries of the Pullman School District and Palouse School District. The new boundary would not overlap with the Whitman Hospital taxing district.

PRH Board Commissioner Jeff Elbracht said Palouse Mayor Chris Cook shared concerns with the board about how this expansion would affect the city’s residents. Elbracht did not share many details, but he said PRH will continue to take input from Palouse’s residents during this process.

PRH would have to hold a public hearing before early August, when it must file to place this issue on the November ballot.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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