WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) – About three months ago, The Wichita County Health Department experienced major flooding which impacted many parts of the building.

At the Wichita Falls City Council meeting on March 21, the council approved a new chiller for storing their vaccines.

The health department’s old chiller unit was damaged beyond repair by the flooding. The approved bid was over $300,000 to bring in a temporary replacement.

“It was underwater for several hours, and all the vendors we talked about suggested replacing it, and the lead time for chillers is three to six months right now, and logistically to keep the environment cool, until we get the new chiller in us. to go with the temporary chiller,” WF Assistant City Manager Blake Jurecek said, “Outside of just the comfort of the employees, it’s crucial that we keep the building a certain temperature to keep our vaccines cool. Any blood samples that are taken have to be kept at a certain temperature, so if the environment gets too warm we can’t keep them cool and we have to move them, and there’s a significant investment in the vaccines.”

The health district currently has over half a million dollars in vaccines stored in their building, should temperatures rise and ruin the stockpile, it would be a huge loss for the city of Wichita Falls.

“The chiller was going to take three to five months, I believe, to be received, and three to five months put us in the summertime, and that would have been very challenging and a challenge unto itself, and so with a temporary option , it just gives us cooler air to get us through the summer months so that we can remain functional,” WF Interim Director of Health, Amy Fagan said.

In the past months, many people have come together to get the health district up and running. Employees are looking forward to getting their workspace back to normal.

“There’s so many people who put in effort to make sure we got back into our space as quickly as we could, this is just one example. There are things where we said electricity could have taken 250 working days and we’re back functional in 61 days. So I’m thankful, it’s been a really long 81 days but it could have been so much longer,” Fagan said.

The cost for this temporary chiller will come out of the city’s emergency funds, but officials hope to reimburse some of that cost through insurance.

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