▶️ Businesses, town ready for expected return of Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

The town of Sisters is ready to hold its first big event of the year.

COVID restrictions canceled The Sisters Folk Festival and outdoor quilt show last year.

And the Sisters Rodeo in June has been canceled for the second straight year.

Sisters Country is ready for some good news.

The 46th Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is expected to return, live and in-person, July 10.

“I think this will be emotionally one of the biggest events ever only because it is the first one to happen since COVID shut down so many events,” said Co-Owner of the Open Door Courtyard Dan Rickards.

The 46th show is expected to hold virtual classes leading up to the event, and only half the quilts, 500 to 600 will be shown this year.

“So far we are still in the process of getting our permit application package approved by the city, but they told us things look very positive moving ahead, so we are moving forward with all of our plans to make it happen,” said Executive Director of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Dawn Boyd.

Boyd says specific protocols and guidelines will be posted a few days before the event.

“We are guesstimating about 50% attendance,” added Boyd. “We encourage people who are concerned about their health to maybe wait until next year.”

That guesstimate is around 5,000 to 6,000 people.

“To have events come back to this community really makes or breaks a lot of the businesses here in town,” said General Manager of the Grandstay Hotel and Suites Kris Rodgers.

Rodgers says people have been calling to see if the event is happening.

“I remember the first year we were open we turned so many people away just because there isn’t very much accommodation in town,” said Rodgers. “These events draw quite a big crowd.”

Rickards says he’s ready people to enjoy quilts hanging in his business.

“Not only is it a town event that I feel like defines Sisters in some way between the rodeo, quilt show and fold festival, they are three artistic outreach programs that reach so many people,” said Rickards.

Organizers of the event expect to hear from the city about permit approval in the next couple of weeks.

OHA reports 4 new COVID deaths, 484 cases statewide

There are four new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,594, the Oregon Health Authority reported Tuesday.

The OHA reported 484 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 196,390.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (1), Clackamas (29), Columbia (1), Coos (6), Crook (4), Curry (4), Deschutes (35), Douglas (20), Grant (4), Harney (3), Jackson (39), Jefferson (5), Josephine (4), Klamath (21), Lake (3), Lane (29), Lincoln (1), Linn (25), Malheur (2), Marion (39), Multnomah (76), Polk (5), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (26), Union (2), Wallowa (1), Washington (79) and Yamhill (17).

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 26,637 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 19,088 doses were administered on May 17 and 7,549 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 17.

The seven-day running average is now 26,901 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,979,854 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,484,295 first and second doses of Moderna and 123,651 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today,1,604,796 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,073,727 people who have had at least one dose.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 2,387,385 doses of Pfizer, 1,917,920 doses of Moderna and 266,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change.

OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

St. Charles on Tuesday reported it had 43 COVID patients; eight are in the ICU and eight are on ventilators.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 331, which is 11 fewer than yesterday. There are 79 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two fewer than yesterday.

The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,378, which is a 3.4% increase from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 351.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

 

Deschutes Co. reaches 65% vaccination target for move to Lower Risk

Deschutes County has reached the 65% vaccination target necessary for a move to the Lower Risk level of COVID restrictions, according to Gov. Kate Brown.

Brown announced Benton, Deschutes, Hood River, Lincoln, and Washington counties are leading the state in vaccinating their residents and can move to Lower Risk on Friday.

As of May Tuesday, all five counties had vaccinated over 65% of residents 16 or older with at least one dose. (Preliminary data posted by the Oregon Health Authority on Monday did not include federal vaccine doses administered in counties.)

All five counties have also submitted equity plans to OHA, Brown said.

“Vaccines protect you, and they protect everyone around you. It’s going to take all of us working together to make sure enough Oregonians are vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and end this pandemic,” she said in a statement. “I’d like to thank everyone in these counties, particularly their outstanding public health officials, health care workers, and volunteers who have led the way in making sure their communities are protected against COVID-19.”

A move to Lower Risk eases many of the current COVID restrictions on businesses – but places like restaurants and bars are still limited to 50% capacity.

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A county vaccination data dashboard is available on OHA’s website here.

Please note that the dashboard displays state vaccine allocations only, and does not track federally-administered vaccine doses.

When including federal doses, Deschutes, Lincoln, and Washington counties all exceeded the 65% vaccination threshold, in addition to Benton and Hood River.

Equity plans for each county are posted on OHA’s website here: BentonDeschutesHood RiverLincolnWashington.

County eligibility for Lower Risk based on vaccination rates will be assessed weekly.

County movements based on COVID-19 infection and positivity rates will continue to be announced every two weeks. Next week, all counties will be eligible to move based on vaccination rates or on infection and positivity rates.

The next risk level changes will be announced on Tuesday, May 25, to take effect on Friday, May 28.

When Oregon achieves a first dose 70% statewide vaccination rate for residents 16 or older, Oregon will lift all risk level health and safety restrictions. Some restrictions based on CDC guidance for use of masks and physical distancing may remain in place.

No vax? Mask up: OHA officially releases new guidance for face coverings

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials from the Oregon Health Authority released updated mask guidelines Tuesday, saying that businesses and churches can choose to no longer require masks and distancing for fully vaccinated people, but those places must have visitors show proof of vaccination.

In addition masks are no longer required outdoors, although health officials recommend that people continue to wear a mask in crowded areas and in large gatherings.

The new guidance follows a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement that fully vaccinated individuals could stop wearing masks and physical distancing in most public spaces.

Oregonians have been required to wear masks inside public spaces and outside since last summer.

K-12 students must still wear a mask in school, but the guidance allows student-athletes to ditch the masks if they’re fully vaccinated.

Businesses and venue operators remain free to establish their own, more restrictive policies regarding mask usage.

The OHA has left it up to businesses to create a policy for checking the vaccination status.

Businesses across Central Oregon are still requiring masks despite the new guidance as they figure out the best way to police the situation.

Many have expressed concerns they don’t want staff forced to ask customers to show vaccination cards.

That alone has sparked some controversy from those who misunderstand the federal privacy law known as HIPAA.

Businesses have the right to ask customers for vaccination records before allowing them in the store without masks.

Oregon’s Senate Republican Leader blasted the idea of what he called a “vaccine passport scheme.”

“Vaccine passports are completely contrary to Oregonians’ sense of privacy,” Sen. Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “In a democracy, having to present proper paperwork to engage in everyday activities is a complete violation of public trust and an invasion of privacy. This kind of dictatorial control over the everyday lives of Oregonians must stop. The Governor should immediately rescind this misguided edict and trust Oregonians.”

▶️Health law expert: HIPAA doesn’t preclude businesses from asking for vax card

 

A “fully vaccinated individual” is a person who has received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since the individual’s final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

And fully vaccinated individuals are still required to continue wearing a mask and observe physical distancing on public transportation and in schools, hospitals and clinics, homeless shelters, youth and adult correctional facilities and long-term care facilities.

The new guidance comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could stop wearing masks and stop physical distancing in most public spaces.

Brown announced later that day that Oregon would follow suit.

“Masks continue to save lives and protect people who are not vaccinated,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said Tuesday. “However, last week’s announcement from the CDC emphasizes the point that safe and effective vaccines are the very best way to protect people from getting and spreading COVID.” He added, “That’s why it’s safer for life to look more like normal for people who are fully vaccinated. And why people who haven’t had a chance to get vaccinated should do so as soon as they can.”

In addition, state health experts announced that face coverings are no longer required outdoors (regardless of vaccination status).

 

 

 

Deschutes Co. weekly COVID cases fall by 11%; vaccination rate nears 65%

COVID cases in Deschutes County fell by 11% last week, the second straight week of falling numbers.

The decline follows six weeks of rising numbers that culminated with 547 cases the week of May 1st, the highest weekly total since the pandemic began.

County health Tuesday reported 463 total cases last week, down from 520 the week before.

As of Monday, 62.6% of the county had received at least a first dose of the COVID vaccine.

The magic number is 65% – the target individual counties must reach before they can request to move to the state’s lowest COVID risk level.

The state’s target is 70% to fully open the economy and eliminate most of the current COVID restrictions in place. 

Currently, the state’s at 62.1%.

COVID hospitalizations at St. Charles have been higher lately than in previous weeks.

On Friday the hospital reported 39 COVID patients; that number jumped to 47 patients on Monday.

Also on Monday the OHA reported Deschutes County’s 75 COVID-related death.

The 71-year-old woman tested positive on May 7 and died on May 13 at St. Charles Medical Center Bend. She had underlying conditions.

On Tuesday the hospital reported it had 43 COVID patients admitted; eight patients were in the ICU and on ventilators.

Changed by pandemic, many workers won’t return to old jobs

Many workers emerging from the pandemic don’t want to return to the jobs they once had. Layoffs and lockdowns combined with enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus checks gave many Americans the time and the financial cushion to rethink their careers.

Some employers and business groups are calling for an end to the $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement, saying it’s giving recipients less incentive to look for work.

But a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, says health concerns and child care responsibilities are the main reasons holding workers back.

Read the full story from The Associated Press. 

High school COVID vaccine clinics expanding to new sites, patients 12+

Starting this week, the regional High School COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics program will expand eligibility to provide vaccines for those age 12 and older at new and existing sites, thanks to a partnership with pediatric medical providers and new authorization of the vaccine for those 12 and up.

In addition, three new free, walk-in clinic sites for youth vaccines have been added: Pilot Butte Middle School in Bend, Mosaic Medical’s main clinic at 2577 NE Courtney Drive in Bend and Mosaic’s Pediatrics clinic at 2084 NE Professional Court in Bend; and one free clinic with registration required at COPA, 760 NW York Drive in Bend.

Those ages 12-14 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to receive a vaccination. Unless noted, clinics will be open to first or second doses to anyone age 12-19, with no residency restrictions and availability times will be made available during scheduling.

  • Beginning May 17: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. at the Mosaic main clinic NEW Walk-in Clinic
  • Thursday, May 20, Bend Senior High School
  • Friday May 21, Sisters High School
  • Tuesday, May 25, Mountain View High School
  • Tuesday, May 25, Carey Foster Hall
  • Thursday, May 27, Summit High School
  • Thursday, May 27, La Pine High School
  • Wednesday, June 2, Pilot Butte Middle School NEW Walk-in or Registration Clinic
  • Beginning June 3: Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Mosaic pediatrics clinic NEW Walk-in Clinic
  • Friday, June 11, Sisters High School
  • Beginning June 5: Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Central Oregon Pediatric Associates (COPA) at 760 NW York Drive in Bend NEW Registration Clinic
  • Wednesday June 23, Pilot Butte Middle School NEW Walk-in/Registration Clinic
Jefferson County Public Health will be providing Pfizer vaccine for individuals age 12-17. Our next clinics are this Wednesday (19th) and Saturday (22nd).
Both clinics are scheduled from 9-4. Both are walk-in. Both are open to anyone age 12 and older. Both will have translators present and documents available in Spanish.

Redmond High and Ridgeview High schools first vaccine dose events were completed earlier this month.

Families can register now for Bend and Sisters area school based clinics at the Mosaic Pediatrics webpage and here for Crook County area clinics.

Families can call 541-389-6313 to register for a vaccine at the Saturday clinics at COPA.

Families with students 12+ can walk-in to the La Pine High School based clinic. Families are encouraged to register students in advance if planning to attend one of the clinics.

Youth who did not receive a first dose at a high school clinic can do so at any of these events. Second doses will also be administered at these events, as scheduled.

These clinics will reduce barriers to vaccine accessibility among our youth, while building healthier communities worldwide.

FAMILY PARTICIPATION ENCOURAGED

Families are encouraged to discuss vaccinations and make a decision about their child’s participation together, and to learn more about vaccines through trusted sources such as the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, or their doctor. Families can review an informational slideshow about the vaccine here: Vaccination Presentation for Schools

PARTICIPATING CLINICS AND PHYSICIAN GROUPS 

Mosaic Pediatrics, Central Oregon Pediatrics Associates (COPA), Summit Health, La Pine Community Health Center, St. Charles Health System, Deschutes County Health Services and Crook County Health Department are working together to expand existing free clinics in the region through the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 12-19.

VACCINATIONS AND QUARANTINING IN OREGON

Like their adult counterparts, youth who are fully vaccinated and are not symptomatic will not be required to quarantine for 14 days if deemed a close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual – keeping fully vaccinated youth in classrooms and participating in athletics, activities and other enriching activities.

With the announcement from Governor Kate Brown that fully vaccinated Oregonians can now go maskless, outside of school and other noted locations, our fully vaccinated youth can look forward to a summer filled with maskless interactions with family and friends…while helping to build a healthier central Oregon.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT VACCINE LOCATIONS IN OREGON
Looking for a vaccine location to receive a dose for you or your adult family members? Check out these locations throughout Central Oregon:

TRANSPORTATION

  • Medical transportation: For PacificSource OHP, call LogistiCare: 855-397-3619. Please allow 48-hours notice to arrange a ride.
  • Sisters to Redmond: STARS 541-904-5545 or email stars4ride@gmail.com.
  • Dial-A-Ride: Cascade East Transit 541-385-8680. Please call at least 24 hours in advance of appointment and ask for a separate return trip.
  • Starting May 24-July 4th Uber and Lyft are also offering ride codes (up to $15.00) to anyone needing transportation to get a vaccine.

▶️ St. Charles video highlights continued COVID concerns; RDM leads OR in cases

Loosening of mask mandates and other restrictions may make it seem the pandemic is almost over.

But St. Charles wants the community to know we are certainly not yet out of the woods.

“Actually, this wave is a little bit more concerning. We are seeing younger patients getting affected by this,” said Emily Kroytz, a registered nurse in Charles Bend’s ICU. “To be honest, they seem sicker. They are not getting better as quick as they used to.”

“We are crazy busy. These patients are crazy sick. I feel like it’s worse than it was,” said Emma Lang, RN, St. Charles.

Both nurses appeared in a video St. Charles shared over the weekend showcasing the continued difficulties facing frontline workers at the hospital.

Kroytz says she chuckles when she hears people say the pandemic is over.

As of Monday, St. Charles had 47 COVID patients; eight were in the ICU and seven were on ventilators.

“It’s not easy working here. It’s not easy seeing the suffering. It’s not easy being in there. It’s hard on us when we go home, we are tired. We are sad. It’s scary,” Kroytz said.

Right now, there are 2,874 active COVID patients in Deschutes County, and as of last week, 26% of them were in the Redmond area.

Redmond has led the state in COVID cases for the past two weeks.

Central Oregon Daily News visited Redmon’s main post office to see what people think.

“I say people should get their shots,” said Pat Richardson. “I’ve had both of mine. My husband has both of his. I know people who don’t want them and I don’t understand.”

“This whole pandemic has been politicized. It’s hard to take it as seriously as everybody wants us to,” said Donna. “I’m still doing my part. I’m not going to be a rebel and I don’t want to get it either.”

Redmond Mayor George Endicott said the one single thing that people can do is get vaccinated, “and I would strongly encourage that for everyone.”

Deschutes County Health Department officials say vaccinations are easier than ever to get at primary care providers, urgent cares, pharmacies and community pop-up clinics

Nurses now are imploring people in the community to get their vaccines.

“Please, from me to you, get your vaccine,” said Jake Tavita, a St. Charles Rehab Therapy Tech. “It keeps everyone safe. It keeps your family members safe. I want you safe. I don’t want to see you here.”

Deschutes Co. woman among 3 new COVID deaths in Oregon

There are three new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon – including a 71-year-old Deschutes Co. woman – raising the state’s death toll to 2,590 the Oregon Health Authority reported Monday.

The woman tested positive on May 7 and died on May 13 at St. Charles Medical Center Bend. She had underlying conditions.

She is Deschutes County’s 75th death.

The OHA reported 310 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 195,882.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (7), Clackamas (58), Clatsop (1), Columbia (1), Coos (9), Crook (2), Curry (1), Deschutes (39), Douglas (12), Harney (1), Jackson (6), Jefferson (2), Josephine (3), Lane (27), Lincoln (2), Linn (17), Marion (35), Morrow (2), Multnomah (68), Polk (6), Wasco (3), and Yamhill (7).

 New dashboard to track Governor’s vaccination goals

Today the Oregon Health Authority is launching a new dashboard to track statewide and county progress towards the Governor’s newly announced vaccination goals.

On May 11, Governor Kate Brown announced a framework for reopening based on county and statewide vaccinations.

Most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted statewide when 70% of adults receive their first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. CDC’s calculation of percentage of people over the age of 18 will be used to track the progress.

Beginning May 21, counties will be eligible to move to Lower Risk when 65% of county residents 16 years of age and older receive their first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine and the county submits a plan to close vaccine equity gaps. For more information click here.

The new dashboard will display the following:

  • The statewide percentage of those 16 and older who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The percentage of those 16 and older who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine in each county.
  • The number of people remaining in each county who need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for the county to reach 65% vaccination in residents 16 years of age and older.

The vaccination administration trends dashboard will now include a tab to show people vaccinated with at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine relative to the population in ZIP Code areas throughout the state.

The daily vaccine update dashboard will now include a graph with administrations by vaccine type by week. In addition, weekly tables and all historical allocation delivery data will be available for download.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 23,929 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry.

Of this total, 16,088 doses were administered on May 16 and 7,841 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 16.

The 7-day running average is now 27,611 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,961,954 first and second doses of Pfizer,1,476,963 first and second doses of Moderna and 122,119 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

As of today,1,591,802 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,061,640 who have had at least one dose.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 2,283,255 doses of Pfizer,1,838,040 doses of Moderna and 266,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change.

OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

St. Charles on Monday reported 47 COVID patients; eight in the ICU and seven are on ventilators.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 342, which is three more than yesterday. There are 81 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one fewer than yesterday.

The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,392, which is a 4% increase from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 351.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

 

 

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks.

The move comes as domestic demand for shots drops and global disparities in distribution have grown more evident and will bring the total U.S. commitment to 80 million.

Biden said Monday from the White House that “we know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control.”

The doses will come from existing U.S. production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks.

The administration previously committed to share about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of June.