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Stay strong Central Oregon 

In the past seven months, 22 people have died in Central Oregon because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since March, 1,598 Central Oregonians have been struck ill with this virus – many of them have had significant health impacts and some have had a protracted illness with long-lasting symptoms. 

So far, 150 people have been discharged from a St. Charles hospital after needing care related to COVID-19. Of those, 31 have spent time in the ICU. The average length of stay for an ICU patient with COVID-19 is more than 15 days. 

This past week, we had another 97 positive COVID-19 cases in Central Oregon. That number is higher than it has been since early August. 

And yesterday marked the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state since the pandemic began. 

All of this is to say that COVID-19 continues to be a real and very serious threat. Our numbers are up, which translates to people needing costly intensive care that could result in a lifetime of health-related struggles. 

Families throughout our region are mourning the loved ones they have lost. 

No matter how fatigued you may be by the restrictions in place and changes to our lives, we can’t give up. In fact, now is the time to continue staying strong and fighting even harder to protect ourselves and our loved ones. 

Several medical providers in our Central Oregon communities have messages to share with you about why all of this remains important. Please take a moment to listen to Dr. Natalie Good from Prineville, Dr. Alwin Borgmann of La Pine and Dr. Shiloh Tippet of Madras.

They understand that COVID-19 is serious. And they care about your health and the health of our communities. I hope you will listen to them. That you will continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, physically distance yourself from others and stay home whenever possible. 

I also hope you will take the advice of our medical professionals and be sure to get your flu shot as soon as possible. Dr. Sanaz Askari shares why this year the flu shot is more important than ever. 

Stay strong Central Oregon. Together, we will get through this. 

Sincerely, 

Joe 

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