COVID-19 Booster Shots

For help finding or scheduling an appointment, call the Samaritan COVID-19 vaccine scheduling assistance line at 855-441-2311.

“We’re not out the woods yet.”

That was the dominant theme of the second Curry County Town Hall on COVID-19 held Wednesday evening via zoom and expressed by Doctor Tom Jeanne from the Oregon Health Authority.

14 new cases were tallied by OHA on October 26, and the average number of new cases per week in Curry County is roughly five. The county is modeling closely to the national numbers, showing a decrease since a large spike in August of 134 new cases on the 16th and another smaller spike in September.

In total, Curry County has reported 25 deaths and 1,827 cases.

But Wednesday’s presentation also documented an uptick in vaccinations to 63% of Curry County residents having at least one shot. A fact which Olivia Davis from the Brookings Harbor Community Food Bank drove home with her personal story of contracting COVID-19 despite being vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“I was very, very sick. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I’m a two time cancer survivor and a diabetic. I’m here because I had that shot. Take it from me,” she said.

Her group, The Brookings Harbor Community Food Bank, The Curry County Homeless Coalition and Saint Timothy’s Episcopal Church were all on hand to let the public know they are offering food, rental and mortgage assistance as well as help paying utility bills so people who become ill with the coronavirus can afford to isolate and recover.

“We want people to be able to quarantine so they don’t go out in the community and spread the virus,” said Homeless Coalition Executive Director Beth Barker-Hidalgo.

She reported that her organization has helped roughly 120 households with housing, utility and food assistance so far and they’ve offered 12 vaccine clinics. They’ve also hired a new staff member who is bilingual and able to help Spanish speaking community members. Barker-Hidalgo says the coordination between agencies has helped people who might otherwise not have come through the pandemic. “It’s been an amazing response.”

Father Bernie from Saint Timothy’s Episcopal Church told the audience they’ve been coordinating testing and vaccination clinics three days per week.

“Just today we were responsible for 45 vaccinations,” he said.

He also applauded the work of Coast Community Health in Port Orford and Bandon for their work in providing tests and vaccinations in the northern part of the county. “They’re making a huge difference.”

Despite full-scale coordination of community based organizations and the OHA, the pandemic has been hard on people.

“We had four people die from Bookings that we were taking care of,” said Father Bernie. “It takes a toll. I guarantee you, this is real.”

The gathering led by Dolly England from the Oregon Health Authority urged residents to attend a vaccination clinic if they haven’t already received their shots or if they received the one shot from Johnson and Johnson in the spring and want the booster.

“We’re urging everyone who can, to get the vaccine. It’s still the best way to stay safe,” said Jeanne.

There is a testing and vaccination clinic every Wednesday at the Gold Beach Fairgrounds on a drive through basis and all three community based organizations offer testing and vaccinations. If you aren’t able to go online and look up the information on their websites, England said you could call 2-1-1 and get the information over the phone.

Doctor Jeanne reminded the audience, “97% of the people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 did not receive the vaccination. The most effective way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.”

His final admonition was to be careful in the holiday season to wear COVID safe masks, meet in small groups and celebrate outside if at all possible.

Meantime, there is a glimmer of hope as the number of newly identified coronavirus cases fell for the seventh consecutive week in Oregon, dipping to levels not seen since the first week of August. The Oregon Health Authority reports cases are at about half of what they were in the summer spike.

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