Jan. 22, 2021
The local COVID-19 vaccination effort is well underway. We are ahead of schedule and are excited to announce the latest in vaccination news.
St. Charles has been working hard with our public health partners to vaccinate everyone in the state’s Phase 1a group. I am pleased to say that as of Thursday morning we received approval from the state of Oregon to move from Phase 1a to Group 1 of Phase 1b in Deschutes County. (If you are in Phase 1a and have not yet received a vaccine, please know that you can still be vaccinated.)
Here is a graphic that explains the phases:
This means we are actively vaccinating our K-12 and early learning educators along with childcare providers. Our goal is to administer all of the vaccine we have on hand at our large-scale vaccination events at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center this weekend. And we are actively working to schedule more vaccine appointments for this group next week.
For a sneak peek into what it’s like to go through the vaccination process at the fairgrounds, please watch this video.
Once Group 1 of Phase 1b is complete, we will again ask for the state of Oregon’s permission to move to Group 2 of Phase 1b, which includes those who are 80 years and older. We will then continue to move through vaccinating the different groups depending on vaccine supply.
At this time, the best way for you to know if you are eligible to receive the vaccine is to visit the Deschutes County website and register. Once you enter your information, the county will send you an email when you are eligible with details on how to schedule your appointment. For information in Jefferson and Crook counties, please visit their websites: www.JeffCo.net/PublicHealth or www.co.crook.or.us/health.
The large-scale vaccine events at the fairgrounds simply wouldn’t be possible without hundreds of people – including many volunteers. It’s been awesome to see the collaboration and community spirit that have brought organizations and people together to make this a success. We’ve received donations of snacks, water and coffee from grocery stores to help keep the team going strong through some very long days.
We are going to be vaccinating people for many months to come and we appreciate all the support to keep the momentum going. Thank you.
A word about Redmond
Unfortunately, we released news this week of a COVID-19 outbreak at our St. Charles Redmond hospital. We are certainly not the first hospital to face this difficult situation as we fight this pandemic, but we do want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to control and contain the spread of the virus and to ensure our patients’ and caregivers’ safety.
This type of thing isn’t anybody’s fault. I want you to know that everyone in our organization is working hard to maintain a safe environment, and as an organization we continue to learn and adjust in an effort to improve our safety.
If you have questions or concerns about this situation, please refer to these frequently asked questions, which we will update as our investigation progresses. More than anything, it is important to know that there is no known risk of exposure to people who visited the hospital prior to Jan. 5, 2021, people who visited for outpatient treatment or people who visited a St. Charles clinic. Our staff is actively calling all patients who may have been exposed and giving them instructions on how to isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms. Those calls should be completed today.
In addition, many have asked if the caregivers who tested positive for COVID-19 had been vaccinated. I want to be clear that while some of them had received a first dose of the vaccine, they were not fully vaccinated with two doses. The timing of this outbreak does not in any way reflect on the efficacy of the vaccine – which is shown to be about 95% effective two weeks after the second dose.
We strongly believe the vaccine is an important tool in our fight against COVID-19 and encourage all those who are interested to receive it as soon as they are eligible and supply is available.
This situation highlights that while we are actively working hard to vaccinate our community, the pandemic is not over. A new, more contagious variant of the virus has been identified in Oregon and we must double down on our safety efforts. Although we are all tired of hearing it and saying it, washing our hands regularly, wearing a mask when in public and physically distancing from others should remain our top priority.
Thank you, again, for your support of our team throughout this difficult time.