COVID UPDATE – WEEK ENDING JAN 2, 2022

Jan. 1, 2022

United States:  Cumulative Cases: 55,696,500, Cumulative Deaths: 846,905   

World:  Cumulative Cases: 288,513,266, Cumulative Deaths: 5,452,900

The United States accounts for more than 15.5% of all deaths attributed to Covid worldwide.

 

Vaccination Events

Vaccination events will be held in four cities in Benton County, with no appointment required. All three vaccine brands will be available unless otherwise stated.

Anyone aged five or older can be vaccinated for free at these event, and you do not need to be from Oregon to come. Also, the vaccine clinics have been spread evenly over the weekdays to allow everyone a chance to attend.

If you have received a vaccine already and are looking for a second or third shot, please remember to bring your vaccine card. This is particularly important since the Pfizer and Moderna two dose cocktails are not interchangeable.

In Corvallis, there are events at the Boys and Girls Club, located at 1112 NW Circle Blvd on two Sundays – Jan. 9 and Jan. 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Also in Corvallis, there will be vaccines at Cheldlin Middle School, located at 987 NE Conifer Blvd on two Fridays – Jan. 14 and Feb. 4 from 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Only the Pfizer vaccine will be available at this event.

In Philomath, you will find an event at Philomath High School, located at 2054 Applegate St. on two Mondays – Jan. 10 and Jan. 31 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

In Alsea, there are events at Alsea School, located at 301 South 3rd St. on two Tuesdays – Jan. 11 and Feb. 1 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

In Monroe, vaccines events will be held at Monroe High School, located at365 North 5th St. on two Wednesdays – Jan. 12 and Feb. 2 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Benton County and the Oregon Health Authority are continuing to work on setting up more vaccine clinics. All locations are wheelchair accessible and have interpretation services available.

If you’re unable to attend these dates, call Benton County at 541-766-6120 during regular business hours.

By Sally K Lehman

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Benton County: New Cases: 64, Cumulative Cases: 6,767, Cumulative Deaths: 43   

Oregon: New Cases: 2,930, Cumulative Cases: 421,263, Cumulative Deaths: 5,655 

 

Third Booster Saves Lives

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the conclusions of their study about booster shots. They found that adults aged 50 and above who had received their third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine have a 90% lower mortality rate compared to those with only the first two doses of the vaccine.

To complete this study, the CDC looked at adults over 50 in Isreal – where the third booster vaccine has been in place since the end of July. They took into account 843,208 adults who had received two doses, were eligible for the third vaccine dose, and had no prior history of having had Covid.

They concluded that the third Pfizer dose reduces risk of Covid infection as well as lowering the likelihood of death from Covid should a person contract the virus.

By Sally K Lehman

 

Oregon Covid Heroes

Every day, the nurses at Oregon Health & Science University are available to people with questions about Covid.

“I definitely think we’ve saved lives,” said Jennifer Arnold, a registered nurse and one of four charge nurses among a staff of 18 nurses who staff the hotline. Each works 12 hours a day, three days a week as part of their normal schedule while working from home.

Read the rest of this story at press partner Oregon Capital Chronicle…

 

 

Dec. 30, 2021

Benton County: New Cases: 63, Cumulative Cases: 6,703, Cumulative Deaths: 43   

Oregon: New Cases: 2,313, Cumulative Cases: 418,333, Cumulative Deaths: 5,640 

 

Mandatory Vaccines For Domestic Flights

As holiday travel picked up, the questions of whether or not a person should be required to be vaccinated to board a domestic flight arose.

In a Harris Poll taken the weekend of Dec. 18-19, 66% of respondents said that airlines should require proof of Covid vaccination before allowing a person to fly on a domestic flight in America. The results were consistent across gender, age and income levels. Those most likely to agree with this policy were females at 69%, millennials at 69%, and people earning more than $100,000 per year at 71%.

In August, another poll by Harris found that 64% of Americans supported the idea of a vaccine passport for air travel. Those categorized under “strongly support” outnumbered those categorized under “somewhat support” by two to one.

President Biden has come out in favor of mandatory vaccines for air travel, however Sec. of State Pete Buttigieg expressed a different sentiment on an airing of Meet the Press.

“What we’re doing right now is working to make air travel safe,” Buttigieg said.

By Sally K Lehman

 

Covid Has Lowered Life Expectancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that the average life expectancy in the U.S. decreased by 1.8 years due to Covid. Read more here…

By Momoko Baker

 

 

Dec. 29, 2021  

Benton County: New Cases: 40, Cumulative Cases: 6,640, Cumulative Deaths: 43   

Oregon:  New Cases: 1,880, Cumulative Cases: 416,020, Cumulative Deaths: 5,631 

US: Cumulative Cases: 53,913,771, Cumulative Recovered: 41,229,967, Cumulative Deaths: 840,505

World: Cumulative Cases: 282,667,531, Cumulative Deaths: 5,427,930

 

New Isolation Rules

Since March of 2020, we’ve heard the rule that, if you tested positive for Covid-19 – whether you have symptoms or not, you need to isolate yourself from others for 10 days. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have changed that quarantine time to five days for those who remain asymptomatic, provided they wear a mask when away from home.

Additionally, the CDC has lowered the quarantine time to five days if a person has been fully vaccinated and then exposed to the virus. For someone vaccinated and boosted, there may not need to be any isolation.

The one catch is if the person has a fever. With exposure and a fever, the recommendation is to stay at home until the fever clears up regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC says that these changes are based on research into the current variants, which generally express symptoms in one to two days after infection.

By Sally K Lehman

 

Omicron Variant Predicted Wave Lowered

Although a record-breaking wave of Covid-19 cases due to the omicron variant is still expected in the next few weeks, the Oregon Health & Science University revised their forecast from 2,000 hospitalizations down to 1,250 – above the last peak in September of 1,187 hospitalizations.

OHSU’s latest forecast takes into account new data from Denmark showing a lower rate of hospitalization than known a week ago, as well as expectations that more Oregonians will take action and get vaccinations or boosters to reduce the spread of the virus.

Over the past 14 days, cases in Benton County have decreased, but are still very high, while deaths have remained about the same.  Benton County residents have the third best fully vaccinated rate in the state for all adults (72%) and for adults 65+ (93%).  Corvallis rate of vaccinations of at least one dose is 77%.

Per OSHU, reducing the wave of severe illness will be critical as people not only need hospital beds for COVID-19, but to maintain access for everyday illnesses such as strokes, heart attacks, vehicle collisions, and other life-threatening conditions that demand care in a hospital.

Free vaccines and boosters are available at local pharmacies. You can also go to the Get Vaccinated Oregon website.

By Stacey Newman Weldon

 

Dec. 28, 2021  

Benton County:  New Cases: 108, Cumulative Cases: 6,600, Cumulative Deaths: 43   

Oregon:  New Cases: 3,575, Cumulative Cases: 414,140, Cumulative Deaths: 5,623 

 

Biden Announces Free Covid Testing Sites, At-Home Test Kits

With the Omicron variant spreading quickly, President Biden plans to make testing more accessible with new federal testing sites and at-home testing kits for free.

A half billion self-administered, at-home COVID testing kits are planned to be purchased by the US government to distribute to those who want them. These tests will be delivered for free, and can be ordered online starting in January, 2022.

This adds to plans announced earlier this month by the president which require private insurance companies to reimburse people for COVID tests. In addition, we may see more pop-up vaccination sites across the country, and additional help to hospitals overwhelmed with COVID patients.

Until they become available for free, at-home kits can be purchased in Corvallis for approximately $25 at a pharmacy counter or store.

For in-person testing, Samaritan offers tests at both walk-in clinics and designated testing sites, which offer PCR and rapid tests–depending on location.

You can find more information about COVID testing in Corvallis here.

By Momoko Baker

 

How Effective Are At Home Tests?

The most accurate Covid test is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is not yet available for at-home use, but is available at doctor offices, clinics, and hospitals. The more-than-a-dozen tests which are available over the counter may have issues.

There have been many false positives, leading people to believe they are sick when they are not. This likely will lead to people being more careful despite their actual health status, which is not a serious issue for most of us. That being said, it’s still strongly recommended that, if you test positive, you see your health care provider. With the more reliable PCR test, your health status can be confirmed as well as allowing the government to track the variants in your area.

A larger problem is tests which give users a false negative. When someone has been exposed to Covid and has symptoms, a false negative may lead them to feel comfortable being around others in mask-free conditions. If you were exposed recently and test negative, self-quarantine and social distancing are still recommended for a few days until you can be sure you’re not sick.

Factors that contribute to the effectiveness of a test include timing and type of test. If you have Covid symptoms that linger past the negative test result, contact your health care provider and ask to be retested with the more accurate PCR test.

By Sally K Lehman

 

Dec. 27, 2021  

Benton County: Cumulative Cases: 6,492, Cumulative Deaths: 43   

Oregon: Cumulative Cases: 410,565, Cumulative Deaths: 5,527   

Pfizer, Merck Covid Pills 

As Americans finish their second “Covid Christmas,” the Omicron variant has continued to spread throughout the states. In the face of that, the Food and Drug Administration has given authorization for the Pfizer Paxlovid treatment for people as young as 12, provided they have underlying health conditions that may raise the risk of them being hospitalized and/or dying from Covid. A day after authorizing Paxlovid, the FDA authorized the Merck molnupiravir treatment for adults with the illness.  

These two treatments can be easily given at home, making it possible for Covid-positive people to avoid hospitalization and IV’s. However, supplies of both medications will be extremely limited. 

Paxlovid pills are expected to arrive over the next few months as the chemical makeup takes six-to-eight months to complete. White House Covid-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients, said on Dec. 22 that three million treatment courses of molnupiravir may be available to states by the end of January.  

Both pills come with certain limitations.  

The Pfizer pill is not recommended for people with severe kidney or liver disease. According to NBC News, “The Paxlovid cocktail consists of two tablets of the antiviral nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir, a drug that has long been used as what is known as a boosting agent in HIV regimens.” This combination can inhibit key liver enzymes. 

The Merck pill comes with side effects that limit its use to only adults for whom other authorized treatments are not accessible. There were early rumors that the Merck treatment may pose risks to pregnancies,   

By Sally K Lehman  

State Extends Emergency Declaration  

Governor Kate Brown has extended the declaration of emergency for the state following a massive surge of the newest COVID-19 variant. In a press release issued on Tuesday, the state says it is working to implement new plans to prepare and respond to the overwhelming number of Omicron cases and hospitalizations. Read more here…   

By Jennifer Williams 

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