COVID-19 Vaccines

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Curry County reported its sixth death connected to COVID-19 last week.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, an 85-year-old man in the county died with the virus Jan. 26. He had some kind of underlying conditions, according to Curry County Public Health.

The announcement came during a week of increasing cases of the virus in the county. It’ll remain in the state’s low-risk category of restrictions for the coming week — but just barely, according to the state’s latest data.

For the Jan. 24 to Feb. 6 time period, county officials reported 29 cases of COVID-19 in the county. One more case, and the county would have met the threshold for a higher degree of pandemic restrictions under state guidance.

Twenty-three cases came between Feb. 2 and Feb. 8, according to CCPH. That week, the department reported new cases of the virus every day.

Two of those cases came from south Curry County, while 21 came from central Curry County. According to CCPH, eight of the central county cases are within the same family, and four are from the Central Curry School District. The rest were attributed to household spread or close contacts.

On Friday, the school district reported a case of the virus among a staff member at Riley Creek Elementary School.

“The health and wellness of our students and staff are of utmost importance to us,” Superintendent Tim Wilson wrote in an announcement about the cases. “In partnership with Curry County Public Health, outreach to the people who were in direct contact with this individual has already begun. Any person who has not been contacted but is concerned they may have been exposed to the virus should self-observe for symptoms or call the school if you have any questions.”

The possible exposures meant all third-grade students were quarantined away from school through Feb. 12 for distance learning and will return to campus Feb. 16.

Meanwhile, the county’s vaccination effort against the virus is continuing. With 1,715 people having received at least one dose of the vaccine, Curry County’s per-person rate of vaccination so far exceeds Coos, Curry, Douglas and Josephine counties, according to the Oregon Health Authority’s Feb. 8 data.

The Curry Health Network is leading the vaccination effort in the county. Under state guidelines, vaccination appointments are open to healthcare workers, educators and those over 80 years old – though availability is still largely dependent on the number of doses distributed to the county.

A waitlist is available for those 65 and older interested in receiving the vaccine, and can be accessed online at www.curryhealthnetwork.com/education.

If the website doesn’t work, individuals can be added to the waitlist by emailing covidvaccine@curryhealth.org. As a last resort, those interested may call 541-247-3119, though lines may be busy.

In addition, the state has launched a “Get Vaccinated Oregon” tool. It gives users the chance to answer a few questions about themselves to determine their vaccine eligibility, and users can register with the site to receive notifications when they or others in their family become eligible for a vaccination.

If a user is eligible, the Get Vaccinated site lists vaccination events in the area. It’s available online at getvaccinated.oregon.gov.

Oregon’s 211 line is also equipped to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Users can text ORCOVID to 898211, or email ORCOVID@211info.org. A call center is available between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. by calling 211 or 1-866-698-6155, though wait times may be long.

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