With the news this week that Deschutes County is moving back into the High Risk category for COVID-19, I wanted to send you all a note and ask you to please hang in there just a little while longer.
Wearing your mask in public places, washing your hands regularly and continuing to physically distance are all critically important. Our local, state and national health care systems are in a race to vaccinate as many people as possible before the more contagious variants of COVID-19 push us into a fourth surge of infections.
St. Charles and Deschutes County are vaccinating people quickly against the virus – more than 80% of residents ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine here. Our partners in Jefferson and Crook counties are also vaccinating as quickly as vaccine supply allows – and they have stayed in the Lower Risk category for another two-week cycle, which is fantastic news.
Unfortunately, with case counts up in Deschutes County, many of our local businesses will again feel the pain of scaling back their operations. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for our restaurants, gyms and other businesses to continually adjust their staffing in alignment with the latest COVID-19 restrictions. I’m grateful for their perseverance through it all.
And, I want to encourage you to do what you can to help.
- First – Make sure you have registered for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment at centraloregoncovidvaccine.com. It only takes two minutes to complete the registration process. Every Oregonian over the age of 16 will be eligible for the vaccine as of April 19. That means, RIGHT NOW is the time to register. Once you are registered, you will be contacted to make an appointment as soon as a dose is available to you.
- Second – If you have already been vaccinated, encourage others to do the same. All three vaccines, which are authorized by the FDA for emergency use, are safe and highly effective at reducing death and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. They also greatly reduce transmission of the virus – meaning the more people we vaccinate the quicker we can return to a more normal way of life.
- Third – Support our local businesses in safe ways by ordering take-out, choosing to socialize outside or buying gift cards to be used at a later date. Your actions can make a difference in ensuring our Central Oregon communities not only survive the pandemic but continue to thrive when it is over.
- Fourth – I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again – mask, wash and distance. We simply aren’t yet at a point where we can stop doing the things that we know reduce illness.
Every eligible Central Oregonian should be jumping at the chance to be vaccinated and help end this pandemic.
Be sure to take your turn.