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The Deerfield Park District receives recognition with an Illinois Association of Park District’s Best of the Best Award. Deerfield was selected for the partnership with the Doctors Test Centers and were recognized at the awards Gala on October 15. We are honored to have worked alongside the Doctors Test Centers during the pandemic and are grateful for the opportunity to help reduce the effects of a pandemic and provide direct assistance through vaccine distribution.

Details included in the award submission are below:
The Deerfield Park District and the Village of Deerfield have enjoyed a longstanding and successful intergovernmental agreement in constructing and then operating the Patty Turner Center, a center for active adults. Both agencies share in the financial support to operate the center, offer programs and services and provide necessary improvements and updates to the facility with capital projects and purchases. The Park District is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the Center. The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic effect on the Patty Turner Center as it was essentially forced to close for nearly a year for full on-site programming and services.

In early 2021, the Village of Deerfield had started dialogue with a medical firm, the Doctors Test Centers, to explore developing a COVID-19 testing site. As the COVID-19 vaccines became available, the firm quickly switched gears and began looking for a location to host a COVID-19 Regional Vaccine Center.

By late February 2021, the Village, the Park District, Doctors Test Centers and Lake County Health Department began exploring the possibility of holding the clinic at the Patty Turner Center. As the park district is responsible for the operations of the facility, park district staff immediately began developing a Facility Use Agreement for the Park Board of Commissioners to consider. The Park Board was very receptive to the idea and quickly established a Special Board Meeting on March 10, 2021, to review the agreement. The Park Board unanimously approved the agreement that same night.

Doctors Test Centers quickly finalized their coordination of vaccine allotments with Lake County Health Department and started receiving and administering vaccines the week of March 22, 2021. Essential workers including police, fire and first responders were the first group of eligible persons who received the vaccine. Other groups, such as seniors, vulnerable populations and then other essential worker groups followed. The Deerfield, Bannockburn and Riverwoods Chamber of Commerce worked closely with restaurant and hospitality workers to schedule and receive their vaccines.

Continued coordination with Lake County Health Department led the Doctors Test Centers to be able to receive vaccinations appropriate for ages 12 and up. That population, including many area summer student workforces, were also able to receive vaccines. The clinic operated 5 days a week and Doctors Test Centers also offered remote site vaccinations on weekends throughout the region using the Patty Turner Center as their equipment and vaccine storage site.

The on-site COVID-19 Regional Vaccine Clinic operated through mid-July and provided over 12,000 vaccines and administered another 8,000 vaccines at off-site locations throughout the summer. The 20,000 vaccines provided to the region was well above what anyone thought the total would be and certainly helped contribute to Illinois moving to its Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan in June 2021.

This partnership with Doctors Test Centers epitomizes how a public agency can quickly and effectively work with a private firm, partnering to provide an invaluable health and safety benefit to thousands of eligible residents. We can’t think of a more worthy partnership as we continue to navigate through a global pandemic.