More groups of people in Malheur County became eligible late Wednesday night to get a COVID-19 vaccine, getting bumped ahead of other county’s in the state in response to a letter sent on March 19 from county officials to Gov. Kate Brown.
Other items the letter addressed, including the county’s size, as it relates to the risk assessment levels assigned by the governor, and the differences between those metrics for the county and its schools were not addressed.
However, more eligible citizens is “welcomed news,” said Sarah Poe, director for Malheur County Health Department in a news release on Wednesday night.
“This week, for the first time in over a month, Malheur County’s test positivity and case rates showed an increase in the two-week report released by the Governor’s Office. That’s not something we want to see become a trend, and the only way we’re going to keep both of those rates down — and Malheur County open — is through widespread immunity. Vaccines work, they’re safe,” she said.
Vaccine clinics are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each Thursday thru April at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, and that is for anyone needing a first or second dose of the vaccine who is eligible. Currently, this includes people in phases 1a through 1b, group 7, which includes people living in multi-generational households, anyone 16 and older with an underlying health condition and frontline workers.
The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday defined just who frontline workers are. According to the OHA, they are people who are in a job that puts them at higher risk for contracting COVID. This includes the following people:
• Those who have regular close contact with others outside of their household (less than 6 feet); and
• Routine — more than 15 minutes per person(s) — close contact with others outside of their household; and
• They cannot perform their job duties from home or another setting that limits the close or routine contact with others outside of their household.
As more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has updated its guidance to reflect new information as it is available, according to the health department’s news release. As of March 23, the CDC has stated that it is generally OK for fully vaccinated people to:
• Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask;
• Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks (unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19); and
• Not quarantine after exposure.
Fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since receiving final dose of either a two-dose vaccine or one-dose vaccine.