Florence Pourtal, Interim Public Health Director, gave a report this week to the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners regarding the uptick in Covid cases. She explained that the Delta Variants of the virus are three times more contagious than previous variants. "In order to stop the variants and mutations of this disease we have to vaccinate even more people, and stopping the spread by wearing masks in indoor environments." Pourtal also pointed out that most of the people hospitalized across the state are those who are not vaccinated. It is also important she added to wear masks in indoor settings and maintain physical distance indoors.
Commissioner Jacobson asked about the vaccine efficiency against the new strains such as the Delta variant and Pourtal replied that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines show over 90% effective against the Delta variant. Pourtal added "what we know is that those who are fully vaccinated are less likely to get hit with the more serious affects of the disease and less likely to be hospitalized." If the infections continue across the state at the rate they are going Oregon could have more than 1,000 hospitalized patients by Labor Day, meaning the state would be short 400-500 hospital beds.
As of August 17th Lincoln County 1,855 total cases, In August so far we have had 295 cases, on track to have four times as many cases as in July. For August so far from the 1-17th there have been 5 people hospitalized. All age categories are experiencing an elevation in reported cases, with the exception of those over 70. Case counts for kids age 0-19 have doubled from the 1st week of August to the second week of August. Pourtal added the numbers may be higher as there are now options for people to get a covid test from the store and these results may not be reported.
Samaritan hospitals are offering drive through testing sites. A doctor's order is needed for a COVID-19 test at the drive-through testing site. If you have symptoms or an exposure concern, please quarantine and request either a MyChart Coronavirus Concerns e-visit or call your doctor's office to be routed to appropriate testing and care. Pourtal said the vaccine is the best way to protect against the virus and the delta variant. Commissioner Hunt said he wanted to research ways to get some incentives to people to improve the vaccination rate. For more information on vaccinations and testing go to https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/hhs/page/2019-novel-coronavirus