October 27th COVID-19 Update

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Michael Dembrow

October 27, 2021

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well, staying healthy, and looking out for your neighbors and frends during this past week.

This newsletter is coming to you a day early in an abbreviated form because I won’t be able to send it out tomorrow.  So I’m sending out what I can tonight (including this week’s OHA county report, OHA weekly data and outbreak report, last week’s OHA forecast, and a bunch of news items).  On Friday I’ll include the usual Friday-to-Thursday numbers, with the usual graphs, the Breakthrough report, the OHSU forecast, this week’s OHSU forecast, and any news updates (presumably an update on approval of the vaccine for younger children). 

As you’ll see in tonight’s newsletter, cases are continuing to decline around the state, and I’m pleased to report that COVID deaths are also starting to go down. 

Until Friday, please stay healthy and safe, and let me know if you have any questions about information in tonight’s newsletter.



Additional Brief Updates and Links

  • Last week’s newsletter contained a broken link to an article by NY Times columnist Zeynep Tufekci. This was a excellent opinion piece, exploring the question of who is remaining unvaccinated and why, with a number of thought-provoking, myth-busting insights. I’m sorry you weren’t able to see it last week. Here's the correct link.
  • Here's a story about  yesterday's approval of children's vaccines by the FDA's scientific advisory panel.  It goes next to the full FDA and then the CDC for final approal.
  • OPB’s Erin Ross has a very useful update on COVID testing  and differences between COVID symptoms and those for flu and colds.
  • King County (the Seattle area) has just begun to require proof of vaccination or a negative test result for bars, restaurants, and large indoor events. Here's more.
  • Here’s more information about the new travel requirements for international travel that begin on November 8.
  • A new study shows that first responders have been far more likely to contract COVID-19 than other essential workers. From the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, an explanation of why parents should get their kids vaccinatedonce the pediatric vaccine makes its way through the approval process.
  • Here's more about the rollout of the children’s vaccine once it’s approved.
  • Should an 11-year-old get the smaller dose right away or wait to turn 12 and get a larger dose? Here are some expert opinions.
  • Here’s why COVID testing on campusbenefits the community, not just students, faculty, and staff.
  • Here’s interesting information about a different type of vaccines that could potentially provide a stronger defense against breakthrough infections for those who are at greatest risk of serious breakthrough cases of COVID-19.  It's delivered through a nasal spray.
  • Before the CDC approved boosters, third doses had already been approved for those who are immunocompromised. Now, the CDC has clarified its regulations to clarify that those individuals will be eligible for a booster six months after having received their third dose. Here's more.
  • The AP has a story about how enforcement of vaccine mandates is uneven across the country.
  • Here's information about those states that have limited the ability of their governors and/or public health agencies to issue restrictions due to public health emergencies.
  • We are not alone in seeing our COVID rates decline. For the nation as a whole, infections have declined by 50% since early September.
  • What’s driving the COVID testing shortage?  Here are some answers.
  • Here’s a technical study looking at how those with a history of allergies have handled the COVID vaccine. The news is good.


OHA Provides Q & A's on Boosters

Here are some questions and answers to help you determine if you are eligible for a booster: 

I received two doses of Moderna and/or Pfizer. Do I need a booster?  

Booster doses are available for these groups at least six months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine:  

  • People who should get a booster dose: 65 and older; 18+ living in long-term care facilities; 50+ with underlying medical conditions, increased risk of social inequities or disabilities (including intellectual and developmental disabilities).  
  • People who may get a booster dose: 18+ who have underlying medical conditions, increased risk of social inequities or disabilities (including intellectual and developmental disabilities); 18+ who live or work in high-risk settings. 

I received Johnson & Johnson. Do I need a booster?  

Booster doses are recommended for everyone 18 and older, at least two months after their first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

Does my booster dose need to be the same vaccine as I originally received?  

No. All three COVID-19 vaccines are available as a booster dose for all fully vaccinated people who are eligible. This means people can get a booster dose at any location that provides COVID-19 vaccines, depending on advice from their health care provider, individual preference, availability or convenience.  

You can read the complete booster FAQ, here

To find a vaccine provider, visit the Get Vaccinated Oregon locator map


OHA Releases Latest County Metrics: Declines Overall

The latest OHA county report, showing weekly increases/decreaIses in COVID spread for each county and for the state as a whole, was released on Monday. It shows the latest case counts, including the week that ended Sunday, October 24.

The report shows our statewide infection rate and test positivity rates continuing to decline, for the seventh week in a row.  Most individual counties also declined both in infection rates and positivity rates. The exceptions are in the more rural and frontier counties.

The Portland tri-county area as a whole continues to lead the state, led by Multnomah, then Washington, and then Clackamas. 

All Oregon counties remain at the High Risk and the Extreme Risk levels. However, Multnomah County, Clatsop County, and Washington County are very close to moving into the “moderate” range.


Weekly COVID Data and Outbreaks Reports Released: Fewer COVID Cases and Deaths, Increase in Hospitalizations

Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows another decrease in daily cases, but the pace of the decline has slowed.  It unfortunately shows an increase in hospitalizations but fortunately a sizeable reduction in COVID deaths.  Here are some details:  

  • OHA reported 7,707 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Oct. 18 through Sunday, Oct. 24. That represents a 4.1% decrease from the previous week and the eighth consecutive week of declining case counts. 
  • The incidence of reported COVID-19 cases was higher in Oregon counties with population vaccination rates less than 50%. 
  • There were 415 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, up from 377 last week, marking the first time hospitalizations have risen following seven consecutive weeks of declines. 
  • There were 110 reported COVID-19 related deaths, down from 183 reported the previous week. This was the lowest weekly death toll since the week of Aug. 16–22. 
  • There were 137,537 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Oct. 17 through Oct. 23, slightly down from last week’s 139,727. 
  • The percentage of positive tests was 7.4%, down from 7.6% the previous week. 

Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 101 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings. 

This is fortunately a continuation of the steady reduction we’ve been seeing over the last few weeks. We’re now back down to pre-Delta counts in congregate care settings.

          1/13/21         202 facilities

          2/10/21         116 facilities

          3/10/21            44 facilities

          4/14/21            24 facilities

          5/12/21            42 facilities

          6/09/21            19 facilities

          7/8/21              22 facilities

          8/4/21             33 facilities

          9/1/21            144 facilities

          9/9/21            188 facilities

         10/6/21           163 facilities

         10/13/21         148 facilities

         10/20/21         127 facilities

         10/27/21         101 facilities

Statewide, the outbreaks that began in August have unfortunately resulted in an increasing number of deaths of residents, though fortunately nothing like what we were seeing pre-vaccination. Deaths nearly always lag new cases by around a month. (Deaths nearly always lag new cases by around a month.)  For the second week in a row, we’re seeseing the number go down.

          8/4      1,374 (pandemic total)      

          8/11    1,385 (pandemic total)       +11

          8/18    1,401 (pandemic total)       +16

          8/25    1,419 (pandemic total)       +18

          9/1      1,441 (pandemic total)       +22

          9/9      1,468 (pandemic total)       +27

          9/15    1,492 (pandemic total)       +24

          9/22    1,521 (pandemic total)       +29

          9/29    1,547 (pandemic total)       +26

          10/6    1,574 (pandemic total)       +27

          10/13   1,619 (pandemic total)       +45

          10/20   1,654 (pandemic total)       +35

          10/27  1,672 (pandemic total)       +18

The Outbreak Report also includes the latest data on COVID in workplaces, childcare centers, and public and private K-12 schools.  


Last Friday’s OHA Forecast Shows Ongoing Decrease in Transmission, Cases, and Hospitalizations

Last Friday the Oregon Health Authority released its latest COVID-19 forecast showing a continued decline in daily cases and hospitalizations through early November.

According to the report, the effective reproduction rate – the expected number of secondary cases that a single case generates – was estimated at .90 on Oct. 6, which is slightly lower than last week’s projection.

At that level of transmission, the report estimates 255 cases per 100,000 people, or an average of 770 daily cases and 45 hospitalizations for the two-week period between Oct. 27 and Nov. 9.

The report also estimated the potential impact if we were to return to the lower spread of the disease from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, which had a reproductive rate that averaged .82.

At that rate of transmission, new daily cases and hospitalizations are expected to decline more steeply, with an estimated average of 185 per100,000 people, projecting an average of 555 new cases and 31 hospitalizations over the same period.

The report again identified a “significant contrast” in adherence to the recommended public health protocols between unvaccinated and vaccinated persons.

Mask wearing among unvaccinated people is about half the rate of vaccinated people. Unvaccinated people are also more likely to attend large events outdoors.

The OHA report emphasized again that vaccinations and booster doses remain the most effective shield against COVID-19. It encouraged Oregonians to wear masks when in indoor public spaces and when outdoors among crowds in order to control spread of the virus.


Want to See Past Newsletters?

If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my legislative website (senatordembrow.com), click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there.  Also, if someone forwarded you this newsletter and you’d like to get it directly, you can sign up for it there.



Here again are some resources that you will find useful

If the above links are not providing you with answers to your questions or directing you to the help that you need, please consider me and my office to be a resource.  We’ll do our best to assist you or steer you in the right direction.


dembrow signature

Senator Michael Dembrow
District 23

email: Sen.MichaelDembrow@oregonlegislature.gov
web: www.senatordembrow.com
phone: 503-281-0608
mail: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301