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In November, Ellis County Judge Todd Little, along with 17 other county judges, received a Distinguished Health Service Award from the DFW Hospital Council.

Since 1948, the DFW Hospital Council has given the award to North Texas residents who help improve healthcare for their fellow residents. Following nearly two years of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, 17 North Texas county judges were honored by the council for their role in protecting public health.

Little was recognized for his role in coordinating staff and funding between Ellis County Emergency Management, the city of Waxahachie, and Baylor Scott & White to organize a vaccine hub at the Waxahachie Senior Activity Center in February 2021.

“We wanted to make sure all our citizens had access to the best treatment options available,” Little said. “If we were going to organize a vaccine hub, for God’s sake, we were going to run it well.”

Through the devotion and commitment of hundreds of healthcare workers and volunteers, the vaccine hub administered more than 80,000 vaccines by the time demand dropped off and the effort closed June 4.

Although Ellis County’s COVID cases had dramatically declined by the time the vaccine hub closed, the numbers began to rise again by August. In response, Little advocated that county commissioners act quickly and harness the potential of therapeutic treatments to intervene early, reduce hospitalizations, and potentially save the lives of those infected with COVID throughout the county.

The commissioners court sought a partner – this time with the city of Ferris to start up a Regeneron infusion center to treat those infected with COVID. The DFW Hospital Council recognized Little for his instrumental role in advocating the county government help fund the effort. After a presentation before the commissioners court by Ferris city manager Brooks Williams, commissioners opted to split costs with the city to run the infusion center.

The infusion center had treated more than 1,244 patients as of Nov. 30, reducing the risk of hospitalization for each of them by 70-80%.

Because of the infusion center’s extraordinary performance preventing COVID hospitalizations, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has agreed to take over its funding and operations. While the infusion center was originally slated to continue operations only through Nov. 15, state-level funding will allow it to remain open longer.

“To me, this proves that if you do the right thing, and if you do it well, there is always somebody watching who can join you and help,” Little said. “I am optimistic about Ellis County’s position in fighting the pandemic. Together, we will overcome.”

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