The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the Northwest has led to a relentless advance of developments in recent days.
Across Oregon, more and more schools are canceling face-to-face learning as students and teachers call in sick (see list of schools below). As people swarm in-person test sites and scour pharmacy shelves for test kits, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is warning Oregonians about COVID-19 testing scams. The state is preparing to issue an order of 6 million test kits to organizations serving people most vulnerable to infection. A similar equity lens determines which hospitals receive the latest COVID-fighting drugs.
Meanwhile, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has ordered non-emergency hospital procedures to be interrupted to prevent his state’s health care system from being overwhelmed, while he deploys members of the National Guard to assist in the response.
It’s a life-or-death effort for both states. Since the pandemic began, nearly 6,000 Oregon residents have died from COVID-19, with 25 of those deaths reported Thursday. The Oregon Health Authority confirmed 9,796 diagnoses of the virus that day, a new record in a gloomy series of records.
Here are the main headlines and the latest updates on the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.
Oregon and Southwest Washington Schools Regroup as Students, Staff and Teachers Call in Sick
All public schools in Oregon and Washington will be closed Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. vacation. day. Here’s the latest on closures and distance learning efforts that districts have announced in response to COVID-19 challenges:
Public Schools in Portland:
- The Franklin High School and Tubman Middle School campuses will be closed Friday and will transition to distance learning until at least January 21 next week.
- Faubion School is working on distance learning until at least this week.
- Jefferson High School is in distance learning until at least January 19.
- Cleveland McDaniel and Roosevelt high schools and Ockley Green Middle School have also moved to distance learning. Cleveland and McDaniel announced Thursday night that they would return to personal learning on January 18.
Reynolds School District: Closed until Tuesday due to staff shortage. Classes are expected to resume on Wednesday.
Beaverton School District: Beaver Acres Elementary, Errol Hassell Elementary, McKinley Elementary, William Walker Elementary, Five Oaks Middle School, Community School and Passages will be closed Thursday in preparation for a transition to distance learning, which begins Friday and will last at least until January 21.
Forest Grove School District: Forest Grove High School and Neil Armstrong Middle School have transitioned to: remote instruction: until at least January 21.
Public schools in Vancouver: Middle and high schools have dizzying days for face-to-face and distance learning between now and January 27. All the details are online here.
Tigard Tualatin School District:
- Tualatin and Tigard high schools, and Fowler, Hazelbrook and Twality high schools are in distance learning until January 21.
- Durham Elementary is in distance learning until at least Tuesday.
Jefferson County School District: The Warm Springs K-8 Academy campus will remain closed at least through Friday.
Ashland School District: Ashland High School is in distance learning through January 31.
Other districts that have closed or moved to distance learning include:
Read the full story here: Omicron and schools: answers to questions about district closures, safe behaviors during personal learning, and how testing, quarantines and vaccines are changing the equation.
Oregon’s plan for COVID testing, treatment puts equity first
Oregon officials say they are on track to receive 6 million COVID-19 home testing kits, containing 12 million individual tests, by the end of January. That includes nearly a million test kits expected in the next seven days.
But unlike some states that make their deliveries of COVID-19 testing available to the general public, Oregon is targeting people most vulnerable to infection.
Read the full story here: Oregon begins to receive COVID-19 testing as cases rise and more schools go online
That focus on justice also supports the state’s plan for Paxlovid, a promising new antiviral drug from Pfizer used to treat COVID-19. By Tuesday, the state had received 680 doses of the drug, a very limited supply and allocated by the federal government based on population size.
Oregon has given most of its initial supply to community health clinics that provide primary care to low-income, uninsured, rural and historically disadvantaged populations.
Read the full story here: Oregon has its first doses of the Paxlovid treatment for COVID-19. Here it goes.
As the demand for testing grows, so does testing scams
State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is urging Oregon residents to watch out for test sites that appear suspicious, or for vendors selling home tests for sky-high prices.
The Oregon Department of Justice opened an investigation this week into a company called The Center for Covid Control, which was accused of operating suspected COVID-19 testing sites.
Read the full story here: Oregon AG warns of COVID-19 test scam
This is how you report a positive COVID test at home
People who manage to evade scams and access at-home COVID-19 testing will be asked to report their results when they come back positive — although it’s optional, not required.
The Oregon Health Authority is processing these reports with its COVID-19 Case Support Hotline, 1-866-917-8881, or its online survey.
Health departments in eight Oregon counties have asked residents to report COVID-19 diagnoses to them directly, rather than through the hotline: Multnomah and Washington counties in the Portland area; Douglas, Jackson, and Josephine counties in southern Oregon; and Clatsop, Jefferson, and Umatilla counties. The Burns Paiute, Siletz, and Warm Springs tribes also ask to be contacted directly.
Oregon reports 68% increase in hospitalizations related to COVID
The latest weekly numbers from Oregon health officials are further evidence that the state is dealing with the rapid spread of COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reports that the week ending Sunday saw a record 47,272 cases — a sixfold increase from two weeks before and nearly three times the previous record set last August. The number of hospital admissions is also up 68% from the previous week, according to the state health department. The death toll had also risen the week before, from 89 to 113.
Hospitals pause non-emergency operations
Hospitals are struggling to respond to a spike in COVID-19 admissions at a time when medical staff are increasingly calling in sick with their own infections, Washington administration Jay Inslee said. one month. He is also calling on 100 members of the National Guard to help with personnel problems.
Read the full story here: Inslee deploys 100 National Guards to help hospitals, orders pause on non-emergency procedures
Oregon Governor Kate Brown calls for more help. She is sending 700 additional National Guard members to Oregon hospitals this week to join the 500 people she deployed on Jan. 7. More than 50 hospitals will receive this help.
In Portland, a shortage of blood donations also affects medical procedures. According to the Red Cross, the drop in donations coincided with the outbreak of the delta variant of COVID-19. With ommicron lurking, blood collections are canceled and there is a staff shortage. Hospitals must now prioritize their limited supply of blood and platelets to those who are actively bleeding or undergoing emergency surgery.
Read the full story: Blood shortage hits Oregon hospitals as Red Cross declares crisis
This is a story in development. Watch for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.