Gov. Kate Brown held a press conference today to update the public on several grim COVID-19 milestones and plans for vaccine distribution in Oregon’s near future.
“I know it’s hard to imagine, but our hardest days still lie ahead,” Brown said.
On Friday, the OHA recorded Oregon’s highest case-count ever with 2,176 new cases. The OHA also reported its highest death toll ever with 30 new deaths. Friday is the fourth straight day of double-digit death numbers in Oregon.
“It’s certainly possible that by Christmas we will be reporting more than double the case rates than we’re seeing now,” Brown said.
But hope is on the horizon. Patrick Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority, said 147,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will arrive in Oregon in December.
Around 35,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Oregon first, followed by around 71,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. An additional 87,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 31,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive around Dec. 29.
Hospitals will be the primary distributors of the vaccine, which could be given out as early as Dec. 15. The vaccine will first be given to health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.
“We anticipate all Oregonians in these settings will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of January,” Brown said.
Allen said Oregon needs around 700,000 doses to fully inoculate everyone in the first priority group.
“St. Charles is prepared to accept the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but we are still waiting on many details from the state,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, chief physician executive for St. Charles Health System. “In the meantime, we have convened a vaccine workgroup that is beginning to work through the legal and logistical requirements of being a vaccine provider, including understanding the chain of custody and devising plans for storage, inventory management and the prioritization of caregivers who will receive the vaccine.”
25 of the state’s 36’s counties are still listed under “extreme risk” for COVID-19 transmission, including Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties.