COVID-19 has claimed six more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 633, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Pandemic Update

Health authorities continue to stress that slowing the pandemic means everyone should be washing their hands frequently, practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings when out in public.

The OHA also reported 346 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, Oct. 20, bringing the state total to 40,136.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (3), Clackamas (28), Columbia (1), Coos (3), Crook (2), Deschutes (3), Douglas (9), Harney (2), Hood River (1), Jackson (10), Jefferson (4), Klamath (4), Lane (42), Linn (13), Malheur (11), Marion (38), Morrow (2), Multnomah (101), Polk (6), Umatilla (10), Wasco (2), Washington (44), and Yamhill (7).

OHA submits COVID-19 vaccine plan

OHA has submitted its draft plan to the federal government for allocating and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon, once a safe and effective vaccine becomes available. The draft plan, sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, Oct. 16, is posted on the OHA website and attached to this story.

The plan is centered around equity, reflecting the state’s values of recognizing historical and contemporary injustices toward communities of color and the disproportionate effects that COVID-19 has had on them. The document represents Oregon’s response to the CDC’s Sept. 16 request of all states to describe how they will manage the distribution of a vaccine.

OHA’s plan is intended to understand Oregon’s existing systems and structures for vaccine delivery. The next steps are to understand how those systems and structures need to be rebuilt to meet the needs of disproportionately impacted communities.

The draft plan prioritizes the need for strong community engagement through partnerships with public health, health care and community organizations that reach and support underserved populations, and addresses the roles that power, privilege and race have played in the state’s response to the pandemic.

OHA’s plan follows federal guidance of a phased approach that assumes a COVID-19 vaccine will be, at the outset, in limited supply and should be focused on individuals critical to the pandemic response, provide direct care and maintain societal function, as well as those at highest risk for developing severe illness.

The plan will allow for broadening of the vaccine’s distribution to other high-risk groups and the general population as more doses become available.

The plan OHA submitted Friday is not final. It is expected to evolve in the months ahead as more is learned about likely vaccines, including safety, effectiveness, side effects, storage, supply, distribution and administration.

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