▶️ ‘Same patterns reemerging over time’ as Deschutes Co. COVID cases remain high

COVID cases were down 13% across the country over the last week.

“We are seeing progress in terms of decreased cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

In Oregon, health officials say the state is past its fourth wave.

“This latest wave of COVID-19 cases seem to be cresting and today 15 counties will be moving out of our extreme risk category,” said Gov. Kate Brown.

But in Deschutes County, it’s a much different story.

“People keep asking why is this different and really from our standpoint and our case investigators we are seeing those same patterns reemerging over time,” said Emily Freeland COVID Operation Section Chief for Deschutes County Public Health.

Freeland says those patterns include social gatherings, going out while sick, not wearing masks and not social distancing.

A spike in cases has been seen in people aged 15-to-30.

“So, when you think about when everyone was able to get their first dose of the vaccination for the general population, that didn’t happen too long ago,” said Freeland. “So we haven’t had time for all of those people to get fully vaccinated and we have certainly seen more spread in those younger populations.”

More of that group is getting vaccinated, as hundreds of local high school students got their shots recently at clinics on campus.

Even though Deschutes County has the 5th highest vaccination rate in the state, more COVID cases (547) were reported last week than any week during the pandemic.

This week the county is on track to reach around 500 COVID cases.

Oregon Public Health’s State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger says vaccinations and COVID precautions are helping the state’s case numbers.

“Daily cases and COVID-related hospitalizations have fallen slightly from the peak we experienced in mid-April,” said Sidelinger. “Our most recent weekly report showed a 3% decline in cases after five weeks of twenty plus percentage gains. Hospitalizations have also dropped 3% this last week.”

Fairgrounds vaccination clinic to offer expanded second-dose walk-in opportunities

Residents who have already received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and need a second dose can continue to schedule second dose vaccine appointments at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center through May 28.

The mass vaccination clinic will also be offering a variety of walk-in appointment times for second doses through the end of the month.

In the coming week, the clinic will offer second dose walk-ins:
Saturday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to noon. MODERNA
Thursday, May 13, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. MODERNA
Friday, May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PFIZER

As a reminder, Pfizer doses must be at least 21 days apart and Moderna doses must be at least 28 days apart. There will be no exceptions for doses to be given early.

Residents arriving for a walk-in appointment will be required to bring their vaccination card or proof from their first-dose appointment.

It’s important to know the vaccine is free and no identification is needed.

COVID-19 Vaccine Availability
As of Friday, May 7, first-dose vaccine appointments will no longer be available at the mass vaccination clinic.

However, there are many options for getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Central Oregon.

St. Charles Health System, in partnership with community providers and pharmacies, has updated www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com to highlight a variety of local primary care providers, urgent cares, pharmacies and community pop-up clinics offering vaccinations.
Primary care providers are adding vaccination appointments to their websites as the mass vaccination clinic winds down.

Local pharmacy availability:

Pharmacies: Some pharmacies in Central Oregon are offering the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments may be available by visiting https://vaccinefinder.org.

Fred Meyer pharmacies offer appointments in Bend and Redmond. For information about appointments and scheduling, visit the Fred Meyer scheduling portal at https://www.fredmeyer.com/rx/covid-eligibility.

Walk-ins still welcome at fairgrounds mass vaccination clinic

The Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Deschutes Fair & Expo Center will continue to offer walk-in COVID-19 vaccine appointments this week.

“It was great to see so many people come out last weekend for our first walk-in hours and we’re excited to offer more opportunities this week,” said Molly Wells-Darling, Incident Commander. “Walk-in hours are an easy and convenient way to get your vaccine.”

First dose appointments

First-dose walk-in appointments are available on Wednesday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to noon and on Friday, May 7, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Everyone 16 or older is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Residents are also still able to schedule first-dose appointments on Wednesday, May 5 through Friday, May 7 by visiting www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com.

Second dose appointments

Second-dose walk-in vaccine appointments will be available for Pfizer on Wednesday, May 5, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. and on Friday, May 7, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Moderna second-dose walk-in appointments will be offered on Saturday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to noon.

As a reminder, Pfizer doses must be at least 21 days apart and Moderna doses must be at least 28 days apart.

There will be no exceptions for doses to be given early. Residents who attend second-dose walk-in clinics are required to bring their vaccination card or proof from their first-dose appointment.

First-dose appointments only available for through the end of the week

First-dose appointments will only be offered at the Mass Vaccination Clinic through the end of next week.

Operations will continue through the end of May to complete second-dose appointments.

As the Mass Vaccination Clinic concludes operations in May, vaccines will be distributed to local healthcare providers who are approved by the Oregon Health Authority to offer COVID-19 vaccinations.

Deschutes County Health Services will continue to offer limited pop-up vaccination clinics across the County.

COVID-19 Vaccine Availability

There are now many options to get vaccinated in Central Oregon:

Mass Vaccination Clinic at Deschutes Fair & Expo Center: No more pre-registration – all you need to do is pick the most convenient appointment time for you. Go to www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com.

Pharmacies: Some pharmacies in Central Oregon are offering the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments may be available by visiting https://vaccinefinder.org.

Fred Meyer pharmacies offer appointments in Bend and Redmond. For information about appointments and scheduling, visit the Fred Meyer scheduling portal at https://www.fredmeyer.com/rx/covid-eligibility.

Mosaic Medical is providing vaccine appointments to patients. Mosaic Medical patients may visit: https://www.mosaicmedical.org/covid-19-vaccine-scheduling.shtml.

La Pine Community Health Center Clinic is providing vaccine appointments to patients. La Pine Community Health Center patients may visit: https://www.lapinehealth.org/covid-19/.

TSA PreCheck appointments, walk-ins available for limited time at RDM

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now taking appointments for TSA PreCheck at Robert’s field the week of May 10th.

Enrollment will be offered for five consecutive days starting Monday, May 10.

At airports across the country, people can “Travel with Ease” and experience a smoother screening process by enrolling in TSA PreCheck.

Eligible travelers do not need to remove shoes, belts, light outerwear, laptops, electronics larger than a cell phone or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage.

In March 2021, 98% of travelers eligible for TSA PreCheck waited five minutes or less to be screened at airports nationwide. Another benefit of the program is that children 12 and under are permitted to use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian on the same itinerary.

The enrollment center at RDM will be open Monday, May 10 through Friday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

It will be located across from the ticketing area. 

Appointments are currently available for Thursday and Friday only. Walk-ins will be accommodated throughout the day each day.

There is no permanent TSA PreCheck enrollment center located in Central Oregon, so the temporary availability at RDM is a convenient and timely opportunity to become a Trusted Traveler ahead of the summer travel season.

As an added benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic, TSA PreCheck travelers generally have the least amount of physical contact during the security screening process in the TSA checkpoint.

For people who want to put their mind at ease to “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” when traveling, they should make plans to enroll in TSA PreCheck while it is available at RDM.

An in-person visit to the enrollment center is required to complete the application process.

Applicants must bring a current U.S. passport or a driver license and a certified copy of a birth certificate.

Fingerprints will be collected during enrollment.

People are strongly encouraged to begin the enrollment process online.

Start by visiting www.tsa.gov/precheck and select “Apply Now.”

Follow the online prompts, enter the requested information and select “Redmond, OR” as the enrollment location.

The enrollment fee is $85, which covers a five-year period.

The fee must be paid at the time of enrollment by credit card, money order, company check, or certified/cashier’s check.

To date, more than 10.9 million people have enrolled in TSA PreCheck.

Seventy-nine airlines, including domestic and international carriers, participate in TSA PreCheck, giving travelers even more options and reasons to enroll in the program.

Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Boutique Air, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, all of which serve RDM, participate in TSA PreCheck.

Second suspect found, arrested following Redmond motel assault

Redmond Police on Tuesday found and arrested a Prineville man wanted after an alleged assault last week.

Levi Hall, 27, was found in Prineville by Redmond Police Street Crimes Unit Detectives and jailed on several charges including first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault.

He’s being held on $215,000 bail, according to Lt. Jesse Peterson.

Police had been searching for Hall since Friday when he was identified as a suspect after a man was found with hand and head injuries at the Redmond Motel 6 Friday morning.

The victim was taken to St. Charles in Redmond to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Another suspect, 27-year-old Damon Hall was found a day later in Prineville and arrested on robbery and assault charges.

RPD would like to thank the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Prineville Police Department, Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team and Motel 6 for their assistance with this investigation.

RPD is continuing to investigate this case and if you witnessed or have information regarding this event please contact us through non-emergency dispatch, 541-693-6911.

Redmond PD warns of phone scammers claiming to be Capt. Devin Lewis

Over the past couple of days a person purporting to be Redmond Police Department (RPD) Captain Devin Lewis has called people in our community advising he needed to talk to the person about a confidential legal matter.

The phone number shown on a person’s caller ID is the RPD fax line phone number, 541-504-3490.

When leaving a voicemail the person would leave their call back phone number as 541-348-3843, which isn’t a phone number associated with the RPD.

Please Do NOT call this person back.  If you have received such a call please make a report to RPD through non-emergency dispatch, 541-693-6911, or file an online report with our link https://www.redmondoregon.gov/reportacrime .

Here are four signs that it’s a Scam (Provided by the Federal FTC- Trade Commission):

1.  Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know.

They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID, so the name and phone number you see might not be real.

2.  Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE.

For example, they might say you’re in trouble with the government.  Or you owe money.  Or someone in your family had an emergency.

Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information.  Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.

3.  Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think.  If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t verify their story.

In other instances they might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s license, etc.

4.  Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.

They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back.  Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and send them the money or a portion of the money back.

What You Can Do to Avoid a Scam (Provided by the FTC):

1.  Block unwanted calls and text messages.

2.  Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect.

3.  Resist the pressure to act immediately.  Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision.

4.  Know how scammers tell you to pay.  Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service.  And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.

5.  Stop and talk to someone you trust.  Talking about it to someone could help you realize it’s a scam.

▶️ Bethlehem Inn to turn Redmond motel into homeless shelter thanks to $2.7M grant

Bethlehem Inn on Tuesday announced a $2.7 million state grant to turn a Redmond motel into a homeless shelter.

The property will serve emergency needs, initially providing 25 rooms of safe, stable shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“Bethlehem Inn has been serving the region’s homeless population with emergency shelter services for over 20 years,” says Gwenn Wysling, Executive Director, Bethlehem Inn. “The pandemic has further complicated and prolonged economic challenges in a region, where even people who have jobs often struggle to find and keep affordable housing. We are very grateful to the City of Redmond and the community for trusting Bethlehem Inn to serve this vulnerable population.”

The grant comes from Project Turnkey funds allocated by the Legislature and managed by the Oregon Community Foundation.

Some key benefits of Project Turnkey-Redmond (operated by Bethlehem Inn) include:

  • An inclusive, trauma-informed environment to help more people move from crisis to stability.
  • Safe accommodation for up to 25 individuals initially and up to 90 individuals in the longer term.
  • Provision of meals, clothing, and essentials such as showers, laundry, hygiene items, etc.
  • Case management services and referrals to over 70 partner agencies.
  • Connections and access to available resources.
  • Employment and volunteer opportunities at the shelter.

“Additional shelter resources are needed to assist those here locally in crisis and seeking stability. The City of Redmond is proud to partner with Bethlehem Inn to establish a shelter here in Redmond,” said Redmond Mayor George Endicott. “The State of Oregon’s investment through Project Turnkey along with help from Oregon Community Foundation will make a lasting and positive impact in our community.”

Bethlehem Inn expects to be able to use the facility early as June, with plans to open a block of 25 rooms to the most vulnerable community members.

The new shelter is close by to Redmond’s downtown and several businesses.

Shelby Bishop, owner of the nearby Spokesman Suites, said she believes the shelter will be a benefit to the entire community.

“Having those services in our backyard doesn’t scare me by any means,” Bishop said. “If anything, I can imagine they’re going to do some significant improvements to the property.”

But other nearby businesses aren’t so happy about the location.

Brandy Hill, the supervisor of the County Nook Cafe, said the diner will miss business coming from the motel and they don’t agree with the location choice.

“We think it’s great they’re opening a homeless shelter and they do need more of those, but right in the center of the downtown?” Hill said. “Redmond doesn’t have a very big downtown so putting one of those right in the middle I feel is going to affect the area around here.”

When asked about the location choice, Wysling said it’s intentionally close to nearby services and resources.

Longer-term, Bethlehem Inn is working in collaboration with the City of Redmond to make improvements to the property that will yield emergency shelter services for up to 90 individuals, 365 days a year.

“Central Oregon has long needed additional shelter and housing to meet the need in our communities. The pandemic has only further highlighted this need,” said Anne George, Senior Donor Relations Officer, Oregon Community Foundation (Central Oregon Office). “OCF is delighted to help facilitate this community-led project, under the leadership of Bethlehem Inn, to support families and individuals with a safe place for our neighbors experiencing a housing or other crisis.”

The Oregon Legislature allocated $65 million for Project Turnkey for the purpose of acquiring motels/hotels for use as non-congregate shelter for people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.

Two discrete funds were provided by the state: one totaling $30 million to be awarded in counties and tribal communities impacted by the 2020 wildfires; and one totaling $35 million for the remaining 28 counties in the state.

Oregon Community Foundation is administering both funds through an application and selection process, with guidance from an Advisory Committee of state, local, and community stakeholders. For more information, please visit Project Turnkey online.

Since Project Turnkey’s inception, OCF has been working with urgency in collaboration with a diverse statewide advisory committee to execute an equitable review process of all applicants.

The Project Turnkey Advisory Committee enthusiastically supported the funding for Bethlehem Inn because of their long, proven track record of serving vulnerable community members with compassion and expertise,” says Megan Loeb, OCF Program Officer, Housing.

OCF has been studying Oregons dual crises of homelessness and affordable housing for two years, beginning with research commissioned from ECONorthwest, Homelessness in Oregon” which provided statewide analysis of the disproportionately large homeless population in Oregon.

The first property was announced in Ashland, Oregon, in February 2021 and Project Turnkey has now reached a double-digit milestone — in just three months – with 10 grant awards deployed to date.

Project Turnkey is on pace to complete 18-20 projects by the June 2021 deadline set by the Oregon Legislature. For a complete list of awardees, please visit Project Turnkey online.

City of Redmond to host free PPE pick-up event for businesses

The City of Redmond will hold another Free PPE drive-up and pick-up event in the rear parking lot of City Hall, 411 SE 9th Street Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Business owners or their representatives are encouraged to get supplies needed to keep staff and customers safe.

Supplies are limited and include masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, thermometers, gloves, wipes, and face shields.

The event is part of the COVID response effort created over a year ago called Redmond Rallies.

The project led by the City of Redmond, in collaboration with local partners, works to help centralize pandemic information and resources.

During the initial COVID response, Redmond Rallies team members reached out to the community and businesses to assess needs and work to address them.

The project has been connecting businesses with grants, PPE, and other resources.

Since its inception Redmond Rallies has distributed over 100,000 units of PPE to over 220 businesses, helping protect over 1,100 employees. Additionally, funding and debt relief has been provided to business with over $630,000 in grants to more than 100 businesses.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, it is critical for businesses to be well-stocked with PPE so they can remain open and operate in a safe manner,” said Chuck Arnold, Redmond’s Urban Renewal Manager.

For more information on the event please contact Chuck Arnold, Urban Renewal Program Manager at (541) 923-7761.

Expedited pick-up available.

Email Chuck.Arnold@Redmond.Oregon.gov with supply request by Wednesday, April 28 and it will be ready for speedy pick-up during the event on Thursday.

Redmond Police ask for help to track down suspected assailant

The Redmond Police Department is asking for public assistance to track down the location of a suspected Prineville assailant.

Damon Hall, 27, and Levi Hall, 22 , both of Prineville, were identified as suspects after a man was found with hand and head injuries at a Motel 6 on Friday morning.

The victim was taken to St. Charles in Redmond to be treated for his non-life-threatening injuries.

Damon Hall was found in Prineville on Sunday and lodged at the Deschutes County Jail on several charges, including robbery and assault.

His bail is set at $215,000.

Redmond Police is asking for help to locate Levi Hall, who is still at large.

He is described as a 165-pound, 5’11 male with blond hair and blue eyes.

If you know anything about his whereabouts or have any other information regarding this case, Redmond Police asks that you call their non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.

Local high schools to host free COVID vaccination clinics for students

In a first for the state, Central Oregon high schools will host free vaccination clinics for students starting next week.

The High School COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics project will reduce barriers to vaccine accessibility among our youth while building healthier communities worldwide.

Beginning next week, the region’s 4,000 high schoolers – youth 16 and older – one of the fastest-growing COVID-19 positive age groups in the state, will be able to receive their first vaccine – free – at school.

The effort is thanks to a regional partnership with local school districts, Mosaic Pediatrics, La Pine Community Health Center, St. Charles Health System, Deschutes County Health Services and Crook County Health Department.

“This effort will remove socio-economic, language and transportation barriers – increasing access for students, thus helping to slow the spread of the virus and protect those around them – grandparents, teachers and bus drivers, family members and friends,” said Ellie Millan, PNP and Pediatrics Clinic Medical Director at Mosaic Medical. “The vaccines are powerful tools that, in conjunction with other safety measures like face masks, good hygiene and physical distancing, can help keep our schools open and students in class with their teachers and peers.”

In Oregon, minors who are 15 or older are able to consent to medical services – including immunizations – without parental consent.

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

Each high school will host two clinics before the end of the school year, allowing students who choose to participate to be fully vaccinated before the summer:

Bend Senior High School: April 29 and May 20

La Pine High School: May 6 and May 27

Mountain View High School: May 4 and May 25

Crook County High School: May 4 and May 25

Summit High School: May 6 and May 27

Redmond High School: May 7 and May 26

Ridgeview High School: May 11 and June 1

Sisters High School: May 13 and June 3

Madras High School: Completed in April

Students from area private schools, alternative learning options and charter schools will be invited to attend the clinic nearest to their school location.

Summit High School senior Julia Burdsall already received a COVID-19 vaccination and is excited that high schools will host free vaccination clinics in the coming weeks.

“Being fully vaccinated is such a relief – it feels awesome!,” said Burdsall. “These free clinics at school are going to be a great and easy way for students at our high school to get vaccinated and I hope students who are eligible participate. Getting vaccinated was important to me because I want to do my part to protect my family and community.”

Julia is one of many student ambassadors who are helping spread the word to students throughout the region, encouraging fellow students to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

Families are encouraged to discuss vaccinations and make a decision about their student’s participation together, and to learn more about vaccines through trusted sources such as the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, or their doctor.

“These clinics are a shining example of the incredible public-private partnerships we have in Central Oregon, where agencies are working together to help create safer and healthier communities” said Muriel DeLaVergne-Brown, Public Health Administrator, Crook County Health Department. “We are thrilled that these clinics will help our students get back closer to normal – and be able to enjoy the summer safely with their friends and families.”

Mosaic Pediatrics is the medical sponsor of the Bend, Redmond and Sisters area clinics. Deschutes County Health Services, in partnership with La Pine Community Health Center and St. Charles Health System, is delivering the La Pine area clinic.

Crook County Health Department will offer the vaccine to students in Crook County.

Madras High School completed school-based vaccinations, with Mosaic, in April.