By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County just more than half-vaxxed

Manfrin and Jody Christensen, the coordinator for the state Regional Solutions task force, spoke to a weekly roundtable of elected officials by Zoom on Tuesday, to explain more about the announcement this week by Governor Kate Brown that most state restrictions will be lifted once 70% of the population 16 and older has been at least partially vaccinated.

Also on Tuesday, the Oregon Health Authority released its weekly outbreak list. It noted that there are currently COVID-19 outbreaks at four Yamhill County schools, one assisted living center and the Sheridan prison.

The Delphian School in Sheridan reported May 1 that it has nine students diagnosed with COVID-19. Duniway Middle School in McMinnville reported on April 27 that it has three students sick; Patton Middle School in McMinnville reported on April 26 that it has one student sick. Willamina Middle and High School in the West Valley reported on April 16 that it has three students sick.

There is also an outbreak at Fircrest Senior Living in McMinnville, reported on April 28, with five associated cases.

Brown also said counties reaching 65% vaccination and submitting an equity plan for reaching communities of people of color, can move into the low-risk category.

Yamhill County is still well below the threshhold for dropping to the low-risk category. To reach that, Manfrin said, it would have to vaccinate some 80,000 people. According to the Oregon Health Authority, as of Thursday, the county had administered at least one dose of vaccine to 44,996 people. (See Publisher Jeb Bladine’s related column in today’s Viewpoints section.)

Yamhill County this week reported a new death from COVID-19, bringing deaths in the county to 76. According to the Oregon Health Authority, an 83-year-old woman died April 27 of COVID-19 at Willamette Valley Medical Center. She had underlying conditions. There have been 2,558 deaths statewide, as of Wednesday.

Yamhill County reported seven new cases on Thursday, bringing the county to a total to date of 4,468. Manfrin said that cases have declined slightly in the past week.

The Oregon Health Authority reported that cases declined 12% last week, from the previous week, marking a second week of decreasing numbers.

It reported that hospitalizations also decreased, from 272 to 245, but deaths were nearly double the previous week’s total, at 31.

The rate of people testing positive decreased slightly, to 6.1%.

Christensen said the most frequent question she hears from elected officials is when people can stop wearing masks.

“Masks will likely be with us beyond the lifting of restrictions because we will still have COVID in our community and not everyone will be vaccinated. So it is a way to protect our community members,” she told the group.

She added, “And I don’t know about the rest of you, but ... I haven’t had a cold for 18-some months, so I don’t know about all of you, but it gives me some comfort that I feel healthier.”

She said the state will “likely follow CDC guidance on mask-wearing so we don’t yet have an answer to that, but I think, when we talk about all the restrictions that will be lifted, certainly when we go to low and then as we open up even more, a mask seems very small in comparison to all of the other things that we’ll be able to do and enjoy again in the next couple months.” Social distancing is also likely to need to continue, she said.

Manfrin said the county put an equity plan in place early on, and is now shifting its vaccine clinic focus, adding a number of walk-in events and “pop-up” clinics around the county, to try to reach as many people as possible.

The county’s efforts to reach people of color, she said, have included working with partner agencies that have established contacts in those communities, holding vaccine clinics at agricultural workplaces and housing areas where migrant farmworkers are gathered, and holding vaccine clinics in areas where there have been large numbers of COVID-19 cases, such as Dayton.

In the first several months, the county had far more demand for vaccines than it had doses, but Manfrin said there has been a significant shift.

“Up until about two weeks ago, any of our mass vax clinics, which we’ve been operating two per week, for months now, have been filling up and they would fill up moments after the links would be shared, and then we saw that dramatically decrease, about two weeks ago. And this week, we actually didn’t fill all of the mass vax clinics,” she said.

While those events will continue, along with twice-weekly vaccination clinics at Public Health, she said, the county is offering more and more mobile and “pop-up” clinics as well.

“We continue to outreach to any employer that is interested and we will come onsite and vaccinate employees onsite at vaccine events and that often we can say we can open it up to not only the employees but the employees’ family members who may be eligible and able to get the vaccine,” she said.

She said Public Health is also taking community suggestions for clinic sites.

“I would say a great example of that is the Newberg Library, where over 300 people were vaccinated last week. They said, Newberg folks said, this is where you’ve gotta go and we were so glad we listened, because it was a great place to go, and it had a great success.”

Manfrin said there are people in the community who want the vaccine, “but really, you know, maybe aren’t going to go out of their way to get it, and that’s okay. We’re going to do what we can to bring it to you.”

She told the News-Register the county had about 2,520 vaccine doses available, as of Tuesday, and estimated it would use about 1,340 of them, but noted that with most clinics now walk-in, it was impossible to give a more detailed prediction.


Where to go for your vaccine

All Oregonians 12 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for people younger than 18, while the Moderna and Johnson vaccines are approved for adults 18 and older.

The county plans to be at the McMinnville Thursday Farmers Market weekly, from noon to 6 p.m., for walk-ins.

It is also offering walk-in appointments at the Public Health building, 412 NE Ford St., McMinnville, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., every Saturday and 4 to 7 p.m. on Mondays. All three vaccine types are offered.

The county has the following clinics scheduled, and walk-ins are welcome. People also may schedule appointments in they prefer, through eventbrite.

Friday, May 14: Newberg High School, 2400 Douglas Ave., Newberg, 1 to 6 p.m., Pfizer vaccines.

Tuesday, May 18: Sheridan High School, 435 South Bridge St., Sheridan, 1 to 6 p.m., Pfizer vaccines.

Wednesday, May 19: Duniway Middle School, 575 N.W. Michelbook St., McMinnville, 3 to 7 p.m., Pfizer vaccines.

Thursday, May 20: Northwest Christian Church, 2315 Villa Road, Newberg, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.; vaccine type not specified.

Sunday, May 23: Northwest Christian Church, 2315 Villa Road, Newberg, 9 a.m. to noon.; vaccine type not specified.

For more information, email covid@co.yamhill.or.us or call 503-474-4100.

The county’s vaccine clinic schedule is available through its website, hhs.co.yamhill.or.us.

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