Public Health Information Update
Health Department Director, Rebecca Austen, RN
As of today, Lincoln County has entered into the Extreme Risk category. This is due to the fact that we are at 308.7 cases per 100,000 and the threshold is 200 cases per 100,000. This is pretty much where every county in Oregon is right now. This spike in cases came mostly from people gathering inside, not wearing masks and then spreading it to their workplaces. The Thanksgiving holiday was a major contributor according to our case investigators. It is critical over the Christmas holiday to not give the gift of COVID to your friends and family. Drop presents off and then video with each other to open the gifts. I just did this with my daughter and it was not that bad.
We are in this long dark tunnel where cases are increasing because we are all so tired of this thing and are relaxing our guards, plus it is wintertime when we are all inside. This is a bonanza for an opportunistic respiratory virus. But there is the slightest glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel – a COVID vaccine has been approved and is being shipped out around the country this week. Some of our highest risk hospital staff will receive the first doses in Lincoln County on Monday.
Each week we will receive more vaccines and the hospital will continue to vaccinate their staff and other health care workers. Simultaneously, residents and staff in our Long-Term Care Facilities will get vaccinated. This vaccine distribution is one of the most ambitious in our country’s history. We are bound to have supply chain issues along the way. We need to be patient as this will take most of 2021 to get everyone vaccinated.
So, it is not time to relax your guard. Please do not gather inside to celebrate – wear your mask, maintain 6 foot distance, wash your hands frequently and stay home when you are sick.
Thank you so much for your attention toward keeping people in our community out of the hospital and alive.
Rebecca Austen, Lincoln County Health Department