To date, the U.S. accounts for more than 15.6% of all Covid deaths worldwide. The U.S. population is just above 4% of the total world population.
Upcoming Youth Vaccine Clinics
Benton County, in collaboration with the Oregon Health Authority and Samaritan Health Services, will be hosting several COVID-19 vaccination events during the week of Jan. 9. Read more here…
By Momoko Baker
Oregon Reaches Dire State
The Covid-19 pandemic in Oregon has reached a dire stage, with the Oregon Health Authority advising hospitals how to ration care when they run out of beds, and officials warning the public that widespread infections will disrupt everyone’s life. Read full story here…
Like its predecessor, 2021 also proved to be another year that brought on isolation, fear, and anxiety due to persisting COVID-19 concerns. In the state of Oregon, mental health conditions have been exacerbated. Read more here…
By Jennifer Williams
Covid Vaccine Specifics
Doctors at Yale Medicine published a simple guide to determine the differences of the Covid vaccines. Here are the details about the three available in the U.S.
As with most vaccinations which are commonly given throughout a person’s lifetime, most side effects can be mitigated with rest, good hydration, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen.
APPROVED: This was the first vaccine approved for use in the U.S. August of 2020. It is currently approved for those aged 5 and up. At younger ages, the vaccine dose is modified for smaller size.
The Pfizer vaccine is mRNA based, meaning it teaches our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response.
BOOSTER: For those aged 12 and older, the booster or third dose can be administered five months after the initial two doses. It is safe to have the Pfizer booster even if you have had the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson initial vaccines.
For those aged 5 and up who have severely compromised immune systems, a third dose may be recommended.
SIDE EFFECTS: Pain, redness, swelling at injection site, chills fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and tiredness. Not all people experience all side effects, and many people have no side effects at all. On occasion, this vaccine has caused an anaphylactic response, which is why people are asked to remain in the vaccination area for 10-15 minutes after receiving their shot.
There has been anecdotal evidence of people experiencing more extreme side effects after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
EFFICACY: This vaccine has a 91.3% efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19, and an efficacy against severe disease of 97%.
In August of 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted this vaccines protection may be waning. Therefore the third shot was approved.
APPROVED: The Moderna vaccine was approved for use in December of 2020. It is available to anyone aged 18 and older. This is an mRNA vaccine.
BOOSTER: A third booster dose of this vaccine can be administered six months after the second dose. It is safe to have the Pfizer vaccine as a third dose.
SIDE EFFECTS: Pain, swelling at injection site, chills, headache, tiredness, and swelling of lymph nodes under the arm. Not all people experience all side effects, and many people have no side effects at all. On occasion, this vaccine has caused an anaphylactic response, which is why people are asked to remain in the vaccination area for 15 minutes after receiving their shot.
For women receiving this vaccine who have mammograms shortly after, there have been issues due to the lymph node swelling.
FDA WARNING: This vaccine has a “likely association” with reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in 12.6 cases per million doses administered. This generally has gone away by itself. If you have the following side effects, see a physician immediately: chest pain, shortness of breath, or having a fast beating, fluttering, or pounding heart.
EFFICACY: This vaccine has a 90% efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19, and an efficacy against severe disease of more than 95%.
Johnson & Johnson
APPROVED: This vaccine was approved for use as a one-shot alternative in February of 2021. It is available to anyone aged 18 and older.
Unlike the other two mRNA vaccines, J&J is a “virus vector” vaccine, meaning it is carried on an inactivated virus strain as a means of creating a strong immune response. The carrier virus shell can cause cold-like symptoms.
BOOSTER: A booster dose of this vaccine can be administered two months after the first dose. It is safe to have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose.
SIDE EFFECTS: fatigue, fever headache, pain at injection site, and pain in muscle groups. Not all people experience all side effects, and many people have no side effects at all. The J&J vaccine has generally had noticeably fewer side effects than the Covid vaccines available in the U.S.
FDA WARNING: In July of 2021, a warning was issued that a small number of people had developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome – a neurological disorder – within 42 days of receiving this vaccine.
CDC WARNING: This vaccine also holds the possibility of a rare blood clotting disorder.
EFFICACY: This vaccine has a 72% efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19, and an efficacy against severe disease of 86%.
According to the New York Times tracker, the Intensive Care Unit at Samaritan Health in Corvallis is 69% full, there are four beds available, and there are 15 Covid patients in the hospital.
Samaritan in Albany has seven ICU beds available and five Covid patients. This puts their ICU at 40% occupancy.
The next closest hospital is Samaritan in Lebanon. Their ICU is at 77% capacity with five Covid patients and two available ICU beds.
The Vaccine or Test Mandate
To mandate or not to mandate is the question for large employers in Oregon as well as the whole United States. The mandate in question would require employees to either be fully vaccinated, or get tested weekly and wear a mask at work.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of both the state and the federal level had hoped to implement a vaccine-or-test standard for every company with more than 100 employees. At both levels of government, that plan was put on hold in November when a federal court blocked the mandate at a national level, leaving states like Oregon with their state-specific OSHA offices in limbo.
Another court overturned the first, allowing the federal government to move forward. The question now is no longer whether or not Oregon OHSA will follow suit in pushing forward with the mandate. With the federal rule in place, Oregon employers have until Jan. 24 to comply. However, Oregon OSHA can place further restrictions on the statewide mandate if they choose to.
There are legal issues still unresolved. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Jan. 7 about whether or not the government can enforce the mandate. Oregon employers continue to look for a clear path ahead.
The price of Covid tests at Walmart and Kroger stores has been increasing.
In September, the Biden Administration made a deal with the two retail giants that they would sell the BinaxNOW at-home test two-packs for $14 for 100 days. At the time of the deal, Biden had just penned a plan to purchase 280 million self tests to distribute as needed throughout the U.S. An increased demand for the tests in the face of the Omicron variant has delayed shipment of those tests.
The 100 day deal ended in mid-December, but Walmart maintained the $14 price tag through the holiday season. Today, Walmart sells the same test two-pack for $19.88, as well as several other at-home tests ranging from $30 to $840.
Fred Meyer – the face of Kroger for the Pacific Northwest – sells the BinaxNOW tests for $23.99 while other tests they currently sell – including their Kroger brand test – are unavailable from their website.
Oregon State Hospital Outbreak
The Oregon State Hospital has had to quarantine three of its units due to Covid outbreaks. As of Jan. 4, 29 patients and 32 staff have tested positive in the Bird 1, Flower 3, and Leaf 3 units. Of those patients in the Leaf 3 unit, over 60% have tested positive.
Many of the hospital’s patients are vaccinated, although none have the additional booster. Of those patients who have tested positive, more than half have shown symptoms. Two units are being used to isolate Covid-positive and Covid-exposed patients.
Oregon: New Cases: 4,522, Cumulative Cases: 435,453, Cumulative Deaths: 5,710
OSU Prof Compares 1918 and 2020 Pandemics
In a recent article from Oregon State University’s Christopher McKnight Nichols, the comparisons of the current pandemic and the Great Influenza of 1918 are brought more into focus. Part of the resemblance stems from a lackluster first response, while another aspect of both pandemics concern variants wreaking havoc on the public. We strongly encourage you to read the full text at The Washington Post…
Changing Travel Plans
In the first update for 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added Aruba to its list of places you should avoid due to higher Covid case numbers. Currently, the island is classified as Level 4 or a “very high level” risk for Covid – meaning there are over 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.
Other travel destination countries on the Level 4 list include European countries France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Outside of Europe, other Level 4 vacation heavy countries include Belize, Jordan, Maldives, South Africa, and Turkey.
The CDC has come out saying that cloth masks are adequate against the Omicron variant, noting that the mask is meant to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others and the cloth mask will do that.
President Joe Biden has doubled the U.S. order for Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Plaxlovid, which are meant to be taken at home to lessen Covid symptoms. The original order was for 10 million treatment courses. The U.S. will now be receiving 20 million courses.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that cases of Covid among children have reached an extremely high level and will continue to go up for the foreseeable future. The number of sick children has increased by 50% since the beginning of December of 2021, with nearly 200,000 new pediatric cases were reported last week.
Oregon: New Cases: 9,668, Cumulative Cases: 430,931, Cumulative Deaths: 5,666
The World Health Organization has been seeing more people contracting the flu and Covid – what they are calling “flurona.”
The first confirmed case of flurona was diagnosed in an unvaccinated pregnant woman in Israel. While the woman’s symptoms were mild, she was closely monitored to determine if the combination of the two viruses increased the severity of either.
WHO says that the co-infection among Covid-positive patients in the U.S. is 0.4% of the over 55 million cases recorded.
Co-infection is not unusual. People hoping to avoid having either the flu or Covid are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated against both – even if it’s at the same visit.
By Sally K Lehman
OHA Orders Tests
As cases of Covid surge, the state of Oregon has placed an order for 12 million at-home testing kits to be distributed across the state. This is the largest order for tests the Oregon Health Authority has made – the previous largest order was for 1.46 million tests, which have almost all been distributed.
These test kits should be delivered any day to the OHA warehouse in Wilsonville. The tests will be distributed from that facility to all partner organizations.
Priority distribution will include local public health authorities, Tribal communities, migrant and seasonal farm workers, Head Start programs, K-12 schools in support of the Test To Stay program, health care workers, shelters, and community-based organizations.
Oregon is currently averaging 2,399 cases per day. Officials worry that this number will grow as the holidays brought people together and kids will be returning to school after the Winter Break.
By Sally K Lehman
Jan. 3, 2022
United States: Cumulative Cases: 56,142,175, Cumulative Deaths: 847,408
New Covid numbers for Oregon and Benton County are made available Monday through Friday afternoons with the exception of holidays.
See bottom of article for local vaccine events.
OHSU Anticipates Covid Hospitalizations Spike in January
According to a new forecast released by Oregon Health & Science University, hospitalizations could peak around 1,650 active COVID-19 hospitalizations in Oregon within a month due to the new Omicron variant.
As of Thursday, Dec. 30, a total of 440 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon. The forecast released by the university projects those hospitalizations to peak at about 1,650 people by the end of January.
“People should take extreme caution, especially if they’re going to be around people at higher risk including older adults and those who are immunocompromised,” Dr. Peter Graven, director of the OHSU Office of Advanced Analytics, said in a statement. “I expect hospitalizations will start accelerating now and peak by the end of January.”
Graven said now is not the time to be resigned to getting COVID, that “if people wear facial coverings and avoid indoor gatherings, it could help to flatten the curve. That will help to ensure all Oregonians continue to have access to hospital care when they need it, whether it’s for COVID-19 or all of the other life-threatening conditions that demand care in a hospital.”
The state’s current hospitalization record was set back on September 1 during the delta wave at 1,187.
OHSU has established a hotline for anyone across the state to call for assistance regarding symptoms and care for COVID-19. Oregonians can call 833-OHSU-CCC (833-647-8222) seven days a week between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
By Jennifer Williams
CDC Guidelines Change, Oregon Schools’ Do Not
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have changed their tune about isolation, Oregon Public Schools and colleges will be sticking to their same beat.
On Dec. 27, the CDC released new isolation requirements if someone tests positive for the Covid virus. Under the new rules, if you are vaccinated with the two shots from either Pfizer or Moderna or with the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, then your quarantine time may be reduced to five days, followed by five days of strict mask use when out of the home. The same rules apply if you are unvaccinated and have been exposed to Covid, although with a heavier emphasis on strict mask usage.
If you are exposed and have received your extra booster – the third shot for Pfizer and Moderna recipients and the second for those vaccinated with J&J – then isolation is no longer required according to the CDC, however strict mask use for 10 days is strongly recommended.
The Oregon Health Authority updated its Covid guidelines to adhere to those issued by the CDC, but left the section concerning public schools open for collaboration with the Oregon Department of Education.
The ODE implemented a “test to stay” protocol in which exposed students could provide negative Covid tests and still be admitted into classrooms. A student who tests negative twice in seven days will remain in school rather than being sent home to learn remotely. This program allows for anyone Covid-positive but asymptomatic to be noted before they expose others
Oregon universities are awaiting guidance from the state before changing guidelines for their students and staff. Therefore, the current quarantine and isolation policies will remain in place as the new school term begin.