By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Two more COVID deaths reported

Yamhill County reported two more deaths from COVID-19 this week, and another 32 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the county to 2,475 cases to date, and 34 deaths.

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday said an 87-year-old Yamhill County woman tested positive on Nov. 24, and died Dec. 19, at her home. It said that a 95-year-old Yamhill County woman tested positive on Dec. 4, and died on Dec. 20, at her residence. Both had underlying conditions.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday the most recent lockdown has slowed the spread of the novel coronavirus, although the spread of infection remains high. On Wednesday, the OHA reported 1,000 new cases and 21 deaths from the virus, bringing the state to 105,970 cases to date, and 1,403 deaths.

Brown urged Oregonians to avoid gathering with people outside their households, for Christmas and New Year’s.

“It’s really tough to be heading into a time of year when traditional celebrations are once again hindered by the virus,” Brown said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Oregon is now well above 100,000 cases, and we have sadly hit 1,347 deaths.”

Brown said she would also be skipping her usual Christmas gathering.

“Dan and I will miss ice skating in Minnesota with my family this year, but look forward to a day filled with phone calls to our loved ones,” she said. “And, of course, no New Year’s Eve party this year.”

Oregon has been seeing more than 1,000 new cases a day.

“While our case counts are still up, we are avoiding many worst-case scenarios,” Brown said.

In addition, Brown announced, the state has started vaccinating residents of long-term care homes, along with staff.

More than 7,000 people have now received their first dose of the vaccine, the OHA reported.

The state has now received the full 35,100 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine promised by the federal government, according to OHA director Patrick Allen, and has distributed vaccine to 16 hospitals across the state.

Allen said that another 12,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine — which received Emergency Use Authorization from the federal government over the weekend — arrived in Oregon this week.

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday clarified what it means when speaking about spending time with friends or loved ones outdoors.

People, and businesses such as restaurants with outdoor dining, must be careful not to put up walls that keep air and virus particles enclosed, it warned.

“Outdoor means any open-air space with at least 75% of the square footage of its sides open for airflow,” the OHA said.

Awnings or roofs are fine, it said, but not structures such as enclosed tents.

The agency also reminded Oregonians to manage stress, and recommended shortening to-do lists where possible, and taking breaks, to keep from becoming overwhelmed by holiday expectations, as well as the pandemic.

The state has a hotline for free emotional support and resource referral 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-923-4357.


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