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FLORENCE — Pinal County has seen 55,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, Interim County Manager Leo Lew told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday. He noted this is 10,000 more than the county’s number of confirmed cases.

“So we passed that up pretty quick and hopefully we’ll keep zooming as we get more vaccines.”

Lew further noted the county hosted a federal team of 10 vaccinators, who showed up earlier this month without notice. The county’s public health team quickly assembled a temporary vaccination site at the Florence Community Center, where an estimated 1,800 people received their first doses.

“We’ve got the people, the team, the infrastructure, we just need more of these,” Lew said. The board watched a video of the vaccination site, which can be seen at PinalCentral.com.

The vaccination team came here because doctors had told federal officials “that this (Pinal County) is the best model they’ve seen in the country so far. I don’t know how many other places they’ve been, but that’s why they came to do this and then do this video,” Lew told the board. “So thank you to the Public Health team.”

“This (video) should be seen by a lot of folks,” Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, said. He said the county television channel serving his area continually plays a December meeting. “Why can we not get this out?”

Lew replied that county staff are working on proposals for updating and upgrading the television station.

Chairman Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said county health staff have shown they can move quickly to capitalize on opportunities. He congratulated Pinal County Public Health Director Tascha Spears and her team, and added, “Let’s get that video out to as many people as possible.”

In other business:

  • Florence Unified School District Superintendent Chris Knutsen thanked county officials for getting COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and played a video of several teachers expressing their thanks. “It’s great to see leadership, thank you,” Knutsen said.
  • The board voted to delay action on an executive recruitment process to fill the county manager’s position until the board’s March 3 meeting.
  • The board recognized many county employees for their long years of continuous service and others who are retiring. Some of the longest-serving retirees were Ronaldo Jimenez, animal control officer, 32 years; Laura L. Andonie, chief deputy assessor, 41 years; Jared M. Hundley, building inspections supervisor, 28 years; Adeline Allen, housing authority director, 26 years; Laurie Miller, court reporter supervisor, 30 years; Emma M. Licano, administrative assistant, 27 years; Patricia L. Trafelet, environmental health specialist, 30 years; and Lynda Ellsworth, emergency dispatch supervisor, 28 years.
  • Those recognized for years of service included Sabrina Lamb, guardian administrator, 30 years. Recognized for 25 years of service were Katherine A. Sherwood, judicial administrative specialist; Sabine H. Michael, law library/court interpreter supervisor; Kelly S. Bohl, administrative manager; Steven Yetka, custodian; Denise S. Hillman, probation officer senior; and Malinda C. LeGrand, probation supervisor.
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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.