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COVID-19 vaccinations continue amid confusion
Despite confusion over COVID-19 vaccine supplies and priorities, vaccinations continued through the weekend of Jan. 15-17, with the Oregon Health Authority saying Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's goal of at least 12,000 vaccinations a day is being met.
State health officials reported that 61% of vaccines delivered to vaccination sites had been administered by Sunday, Jan. 17. According to the OHA, 335,075 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across the state and 204,974 first and second doses have been administered.
Some of those being vaccinated included shelter workers, who were vaccinated at a clinic hosted by the Multnomah County Health Department on Friday. So far, hundreds of shelter workers in the county have been vaccinated so they can keep providing services. That includes homeless shelter workers, who often must be in close contact with vulnerable members of the community.
"We want those folks to be able to keep those services going because if there is an outbreak among shelter staff, for example, we might have to — heaven forbid we might have to close a shelter if that happened … or come up with some other kind of planning," said Denis Theriault, a spokesperson for the Portland-Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services.
Workers who are immunized now could help with distribution down the line as vaccines get expanded to larger groups of people, he added.
"As we ramp up to do more of the vaccination of the other phases, folks who are in shelters are going to be able to help with that," Theriault said. "As we expand to the next phases of the vaccination where you've got folks who are older or who have underlying health conditions … we know folks who are in our shelters and who are in our streets, they are disproportionately older, they have a lot of underlying health conditions and they're going to be part of that next phase."
The Oregon Health Authority reported an additional 15,784 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations on Sunday, Jan. 17. That included 12,781 doses administered on Saturday, meaning that more than 200,000 doses of COVID vaccine have been administered to Oregonians.
Brown had previously announced that Oregonians 65 and older would be eligible to be vaccinated based on new supplies arriving from the federal government. That was scaled back after the federal government admitted it did not have a vaccine reserve.
The OHA also reported on Sunday that COVID-19 has claimed one more life, raising the state's death toll to 1,800. An additional 799 cases were also reported, bringing the state total to 133,205.
And state health officials reported the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 361, which is four fewer than on Jan. 16. There are 95 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is three more than the day before.
The new cases were reported in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (12), Clackamas (66), Clatsop (16), Columbia (10), Coos (5), Crook (6), Curry (6), Deschutes (46), Douglas (11), Gilliam (3), Harney (2), Hood River (3), Jackson (30), Jefferson (15), Josephine (30), Klamath (6), Lake (1), Lane (53), Lincoln (6), Linn (7), Malheur (7), Marion (86), Morrow (5), Multnomah (102), Polk (34), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (57), Union (10), Wasco (8), Washington (131) and Yamhill (20).
Oregon's 1,800th COVID-19 death is a 74-year-old woman in Jackson County who tested positive Dec. 6 and died Dec. 25. Location of death is being confirmed. She had underlying conditions.
A previous Pamplin Media Group story on the changing priorities can be found here.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story. Their story can be found here.
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