By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County enters ‘caution’ period as case counts rise

Yamhill County was placed on notice the week of April 5 that it is now entering a two-week “caution period,” because its case numbers for COVID-19 have reverted to Moderate risk levels. The county was moved to low risk two weeks before, but case numbers have been increasing.

On Tuesday, April 6, county Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin told members of the weekly Elected Officials Roundtable meeting, held on Zoom, that “We’re hoping it’s a little blip based around travel and gatherings related to spring break.”

Manfrin urges people to wear masks when leaving their homes and maintain a distance of at least six feet from people they don’t live with.

The Oregon Health Authority also encourages residents to continue shopping through curbside pickup, keeping social gatherings small, and staying home when sick.

Yamhill County announced four deaths from COVID-19 this week. According to the Oregon Health Authority:

n An 88-year-old woman in Yamhill County tested positive on Feb. 26 and died March 21 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

n A 92-year-old woman in Yamhill County tested positive on Feb. 26 and died March 6 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

n A 77-year-old man in Yamhill County tested positive on Feb. 26 and died March 18 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

n A 72-year-old man in Yamhill County tested positive on Nov. 19 and died Jan. 26 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

The county also reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county to a total of 4,012 cases to date, and 74 deaths.

The Oregon Health Authority reported cases rose statewide by 21% the week of March 29 through April 4, and the percentage of people testing positive rose from 3.7% to 4.5%.

In Yamhill County, Fircrest Senior Living, which reported a COVID-19 outbreak beginning Feb. 18, is still listed as an active outbreak, with 31 cases to date. The state said no deaths have been reported, however.

A months-long outbreak at the Sheridan prison that led to 82 cases, the most recent reported on March 1, has now been declared resolved.

Perrydale School in Amity currently has an outbreak, with three students reported to have COVID-19, the most recent on March 25.

Yamhill County expected to receive 3,000 first doses of vaccine this week, with 1,100 going to the county, 1,800 directly to primary care doctors, 100 directly to pharmacies, from the state. Pharmacies also receive allocations from the federal government.

Manfrin said the county divides its allocation roughly into three: 40% each for two large vaccination clinics, one in Newberg and one in McMinnville, and the remaining 20% for various types of mobile vaccine clinics, such as visits to people who are homebound or who live in senior care homes not covered in the government’s first wave of vaccinations provided to large nursing homes. The county is also trying to schedule vaccination clinics for a location where homeless people are known to congregate, as well as for shelters, farms and food processing plants, where workers might experience difficulty getting time off for their shots.

Manfrin said the county was able to obtain doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only one approved for people younger than 18, to vaccinate medically fragile teen-agers in the county. She noted that, currently, the vaccine is approved only for 16 and 17-year-olds, but said she is hoping it will soon be approved for children 12 and older.

The Pfizer vaccine is more difficult to manage because it requires ultra-cold storage only specialty freezers can provide. Manfrin said that Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue was able to make a freezer that met the requirements available for storage, along with the allotments sent for the teens’ booster shots.

She said Linfield has also made freezers available, but the county is required to put a data logging device on all freezers used for the vaccine for two weeks beforehand, to ensure they are consistently maintaining the correct temperature. However, she said, those have been in extremely short supply, so the county hasn’t yet been able to accept Linfield’s offer. She said the county has been working with the state to secure the needed equipment, and may be able to get it installed soon.

The county has been hoping its weekly allocation of doses will be increased significantly, but Manfrin said at this point it’s unclear when that might happen.

All Oregonians 18 and older become eligible for vaccines beginning April 19, but Manfrin noted the county is still receiving far few doses per week than there are people who want them.

She said she believes about 30,000 county residents have been vaccinated so far, either through the county or another venue.

People may sign up for notification of available appointments through the state website, at getvaccinated.oregon.gov. For assistance or more information, call 211, or 474-4100.

Comments

Hibb

Getting vaccinated is not the end to all of this, as due diligence is still essential if we are going to get beyond this breakout. Although I have received both doses of Moderna, I still wear my mask religiously and avoid gatherings like the plague. Those who opt to gather together and do not don a mask or get vaccinated are just asking for trouble and we as a people can do without that kind of scenario. The citizens of Yamhill County need to exercise commonsense and do the right thing for themselves and their neighbors.

Treehouse

At some point public health officials may need to evaluate the targeting of vaccination to populations based on behavioral risk as opposed to disease risk.

Rotwang

The war was never meant to be won.

tagup

Not sure why you would think that Rot.......you don’t fear measles or tetanus or any of dozens of other diseases that are controlled by vaccine. Right? The force driving the virus today is people’s ignorance and resistance to taking simple steps to protect themselves and others.