Columbia County's COVID-19 case count is slowing, but is it enough to lower the public risk factor?

Pandemic Cases

Columbia County has registered 1,602 cases of COVID-19 with 26 deaths since the pandemic occurred in March of last year.

Thirteen cases were reported Friday, April 23, seven cases Saturday and eight cases Sunday. The county has registered 1,602 cases with 26 deaths since the pandemic broke out in March of last year.

The Oregon Health Authority reported one new COVID-19 related death on Sunday, April 25, raising the state’s death toll to 2,485. The OHA also reported 780 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 180,700.

Oregon health officials are expected to release new risk classifications this week due to the surging cases of COVID-19 across Oregon. Columbia County is at High risk and could be back to Extreme High due to the increasing number of cases over the past few weeks.

The higher the risk means more public health and safety restrictions.

Vaccinations in Oregon

OHA reported Sunday that 33,721 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 25,099 doses were administered on April 24 and 8,622 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 24.

The 7-day running average is now 34,852 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,476,008 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,229,881 first and second doses of Moderna and 92,058 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 1,731,015 doses of Pfizer, 1,454,400 doses of Moderna and 215,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change.

Columbia County expanded its mass vaccinations on Friday, April 23, at the OHSU Scappoose Clinic, at 51377 Southwest Old Portland Road Crossroads Plaza, Unit C, in Scappoose. Appointments are necessary and patience is requested. To reach the clinic, call 503-494-5455.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 291, which is four fewer than Saturday. There are 66 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is no change from Saturday.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

Cases and deaths

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (8), Clackamas (89), Clatsop (1), Columbia (8), Coos (3), Crook (15), Deschutes (85), Douglas (4), Grant (27), Hood River (2), Jackson (15), Jefferson (1), Josephine (10), Klamath (37), Lake (1), Lane (36), Lincoln (6), Linn (31), Malheur (1), Marion (111), Morrow (2), Multnomah (169), Polk (8), Tillamook (2), Union (1), Wasco (3), Washington (81) and Yamhill (21).

Oregon’s 2,485th death is a 95-year-old man from Josephine County who tested positive on April 21 and died on April 24 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

J&J Vaccine Update

Oregon health care providers and pharmacies may resume administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine if they can ensure patients or their caregivers are informed about the benefits and risks of the vaccine in their primary language, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

The OHA issued guidance to health care providers Saturday, April 24. Currently, there are approximately 124,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that have been stored at Oregon vaccination sites, while providers awaited resolution of the recent federal and Western States safety reviews.

On April 13, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended a pause on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of rare and serious blood clots in a small number of people, out of the approximately 7.5 million people who’d been vaccinated at the time.

On April 23, the Food and Drug administration lifted the pause, with a warning about the potential for rare blood clots for women under age 50. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also found that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “generally safe and effective and that the resumption of its use is warranted once culturally and linguistically appropriate patient and provider educational materials in plain language that support informed decision-making are available.”

Medical experts on the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also stated: “resumption of its use will support COVID-19 vaccine uptake and help reduce severe COVID-19 illnesses and control the pandemic in our states.”

According to OHA’s guidance to health care providers:

Vaccine providers in Oregon may now resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine so long as they ensure that recipients or their caregivers receive the new warning information regarding thrombosis and thrombopenia. This information must be provided in the individual’s primary language or in a manner that the individual can understand, considering English language proficiency and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility needs. Updated fact sheets including this warning have been approved by the FDA, including the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers administering vaccine and the Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers.

OHA’s guidance also states: “Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be made aware of this rare potential risk of blood clots within the first three weeks of vaccination. Clinical characteristics include clots in the cerebral, extremity, pulmonary or splanchnic vasculature. Symptoms may include severe or unusual headache, leg pain, shortness of breath, or abdominal pain; petechiae in the arms and shins indicating thrombocytopenia. Those who develop such symptoms should be advised to seek medical attention immediately … Vaccine providers should make information available about which vaccine is available at their site.”

More information about vaccinations in Oregon is available at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

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