ONTARIO

Oregon health officials are ramping up getting people vaccinated for COVID-19 as the state is showing signs of slowing the pandemic.

During her latest news conference on Friday, Gov. Kate Brown said Oregon has the fourth lowest infection rate in the nation, the fourth lowest death rate, plus it is 12th in the nation in vaccination rates.

Most recently the state will see a 20 percent increase in the number of vaccine doses. 

However, “We still have a long way to go,” she said.

She opened the news conference saying the death toll from the COVID-19 had reached 2,000.

Currently, according to charts from the Oregon Health Authority, groups in the first phase of vaccinations, phase 1A, including medical staff in hospitals, skilled nursing staff and residents and a variety of health care and service providers have been receiving the vaccines since December 12. These were followed by people, in phase 1B, which started on Jan 25 and included childcare providers, early learning and K-12 educators and staff.

Starting Monday, people 80 years and older were eligible for the vaccine, followed by people 75 years and older on Feb. 15, those 70 and older on Feb. 22 and those 65 years and older on March 1.

Pat Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said 75 percent of the people in phase 1A and phase 1B, will be vaccinated by the first of April.

There are an estimated 400,000 Oregonians in the first group, about 105,000 educators and estimated 795,000 people over 65, according to the Health Authority.

How quickly people are being vaccinated will depend on how fast the vaccines are delivered to the state and available personnel to do the vaccinations, Allen said.

Brown said she will still be authorizing National Guard members to provide support in vaccination drives.

A vaccination clinic was held for Saturday at Four Rivers Cultural Center for people who are eligible to receive them, but there is no word on additional ones.

Allen said a website is being set up to provide information and people can also call 2-1-1.

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