Commissioners receive overview of COVID-19 vaccination strategy
For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 10, 2020
Along with the rest of the state, Washington County transitioned on December 3 from Governor Kate Brown’s Two Week Statewide Freeze to Oregon’s new Risk and Protection Framework With the statewide case count nearing 89,000, Washington County has seen a 16% rise over the past week. Under the new framework, Washington County is in the “extreme risk” category.
As part of a COVID-19 status update to the Washington County Board of Commissioners this week, Health and Human Services Director Marni Kuyl predicted that Washington County will remain in the “extreme risk” category at least through December.
Public Health Division Senior Program Coordinator Carrie Beck also provided a comprehensive overview of the County’s vaccination strategy which is being developed in coordination with local healthcare systems and community partners. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are expected to arrive in Oregon later this month and will be distributed in a phased approach as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority.
Beck went on to explain that the County is working closely with state, regional and local partners to engage with diverse community groups to understand their concerns and to ensure equity in vaccine delivery. Washington County Public Health expects to provide vaccinations to those who may have difficulty getting vaccinated through a healthcare provider or pharmacy chain.
At the conclusion of the briefing, Kuyl emphasized the importance of continuing to observe the simple-yet-effective strategies that have been proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and expressed empathy for those impacted most, including small businesses. “Limiting our social gatherings, wearing our masks, avoiding crowded spaces—those are the strategies that will get our businesses back open. If we all pull together while we’re waiting for these vaccines to become available, these strategies do work.” The briefing is available on the County’s YouTube Channel.
In mid-November, the Board of Commissioners extended their prior declaration of emergency to December 15, 2020. The declaration continues the same authorizations, support for coordination and other actions from previous declarations. On December 1, the extension was amended to allow the County to adequately disburse CARES Act funding before the yearend deadline.
Additionally, last week the County’s Emergency Operations Center was reactivated to coordinate an anticipated increase in community and organizational needs associated with rising COVID-19 case counts.
Health officials ask that the public stay informed and educated through trustworthy sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority and Washington County Public Health Division. For more about the County’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/CommunicableDiseases/COVID-19/index.cfm.
General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider.
Philip Bransford, Communications Officer
Wendy Gordon, Department Communications Coordinator