COVID vaccine arrives in Crook Co.; distribution begins

Crook County received its first allotment of COVID vaccines on Wednesday and health officials announced a distribution plan through December next year.

Hospital caregivers will be among the first group to get the vaccine, along with skilled nursing and memory care facility health care providers and residents, tribal health programs, EMS providers and other first responders.

Group two includes other long-term care facilities and congregate care facilities and congregate care sites, including health care providers and residents; hospice programs; mobile crisis care; and related services; individuals working in a correctional setting; personnel of group homes for children or adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Group 3: Outpatient settings serving specific high-risk groups; in-home care; day treatment services; non-emergency medical transport.

Group 4: Health care personnel working in other outpatient and public health settings.

The second wave of vaccines is projected to be distributed February through March for essential workers not listed above and high-risk populations.

Another wave is projected to be distributed from May through August to critical populations and general public.

“These next few months will be difficult, and it will take a lot of work to continue to follow the guidance for keeping ourselves and our community safe,” said Vicky Ryan, Crook County’s public health information officer. “It is understood that everyone is ready to get back to daily lives, but this may not happen for quite some time as cases continue to increase in Crook County and across the state.”

Oregon has labeled Crook County an “Extreme Risk” for COVID spread so restrictions on gathering size and business openings are projected to continue until at least mid-February, Ryan said.

“At this point, the best thing we can do is to stay the course and continue protecting ourselves and those around us by following the guidance released by the state and suggested by the experts in the Oregon Health Authority,” she said. “PPE is still available and can be obtained through the health department. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need some. It will still be some time before there will be any resemblance of what life was like before COVID.”

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