Oregon Health Director Patrick Allen told OPB that if people do not change their behavior, the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections within the next month may result in “over 1,000 cases per day.”
The spread of infectious variants and the relaxation of restrictions on corporate and social gatherings have led to an increase in COVID-19 cases both locally and nationwide. Now, these increased number of cases have triggered stricter restrictions on the number of people dining indoors, as well as restrictions on other businesses and individual gatherings in Oregon’s most populous counties.
The state put six counties into the “high risk”
Affected counties include Multnomah and Clackamas in downtown Portland, as well as more rural counties such as Deschutes (Bend’s hometown), Klamath, Linn, and Tillamook. The list of “high-risk” counties in Oregon has expanded to 14.
Governor Kate Brown also announced a major change to the state’s metrics used to determine when to determine whether a county is at “extreme risk,” which triggered a total ban on indoor dining, among other restrictions.
This risk level is triggered only in limited circumstances that indicate that the state may face a shortage of hospitals: COVID-19-positive patients occupy 300 hospital beds or more, and the 7-day average is 15% higher than before treatment. Last week.
The three counties of Josephine, Klamath, and Tillamook meet the state’s conditions and positive rate thresholds and are designated as “extreme risks”, but according to the new guidelines, they will be considered high risks.
The governor described the current situation as a race between vaccination efforts detected statewide and the spread of more transmissible variants of COVID-19.
The number of cases in the two states, Josephine and Tillamook, is high enough to be considered “extreme risk”, and their vaccination rates are among the lowest in the state.
Overall, the vaccination rate in Oregon is not high enough to stop the spread of COVID-19: only about one-third of Oregonians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 19% have been fully vaccinated. Statewide, 76% of people 65 years and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 57% have been fully vaccinated, but the incidence rates vary widely across the state.
Allen warned that the vaccination rate for older people in rural Oregon is particularly low because the number of cases, the positive rate of testing and the rate of hospitalization continue to rise.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Grant County has the lowest vaccination rate for seniors, with only 23.6% of people fully vaccinated, while Baker County has the highest vaccination rate, at 87.7%.
Allen worries that in some rural areas, the rate of elderly people has stabilized at 50% or less.
“I think there are many factors and it is difficult to understand this deeply. I don’t think it is because of lack of access to vaccines. I think that in some cases, people don’t need to worry about this disease because people think that many of us are Healthy and strong.” Allen said.
Oregon is one of the last states in the United States to widely open vaccine qualifications to people over 65 years old. In many counties, a fragmented, largely online booking system is difficult for seniors to navigate.
Allen said that although the demand for vaccines still exceeds the supply in the Portland metropolitan area, it is no longer correct in rural Oregon, where there are longer vaccine appointments.
Statewide, the speed of vaccination has been greatly accelerated, which is a factor in the Governor’s decision to open vaccination eligibility to all Oregonians aged 16 and over on April 19, in order to comply with President Biden’s (Joe Biden) setting. New deadline for.
“We have nearly 35,000 people on average 7 days a week. When you qualify the new group, you will still encounter traffic jams, but we can solve these traffic jams faster,” Allen said.