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First Bend firefighters receive COVID-19 vaccine; Crook County gets shipment

Bend firefighters COVID-19 vaccine
Bend Fire & Rescue
Bend firefighters Nick Thomas, Nick Gylling received COVID-19 vaccines at St. Charles Bend

Full rollout of vaccine expected to take months

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend firefighters began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations this week at St. Charles Bend, while the Crook County Health Department reported Wednesday receiving its first doses of the vaccine.

Deschutes County received 50 doses designated for first responders this week, Bend Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Trish Connolly reported.

On Wednesday, 18 Bend firefighters were vaccinated at the hospital, Connolly said, adding that the department will continue vaccinating firefighters over the next couple of weeks, in a collaborative effort with St. Charles, Deschutes County and other first responder agencies in the area.

“We are excited to begin the process of protecting our employees against COVID-19 with the vaccine,” Connolly added.

The Crook County Health Department issued this news release:

****** COVID-19 Vaccine distribution   ******

As 2020 nears an end and the new year is just around the corner, Crook County Health Department recognizes this has been a really tough year for everyone.  The health department has been with you all along and specifically throughout the entire pandemic and will continue to be here for you and with you going forward.  Whatever challenges we face in Crook County we can and will stand together and persevere.

Crook County was listed as one of the Oregon counties with the lowest case counts for quite some time; however, this has changed, and the virus is hitting us harder than it has in the past year.  The health department has worked tirelessly with case investigations and direct support for our community members who have had this virus hit them personally.  The work will continue and the health department will continue to be here for you.

The COVID-19 vaccine is beginning to be delivered around the nation and to Oregon counties, and Crook County received their first allotment today (Wednesday).  Distributions have started and will continue as the vaccine continues to be available.  As Crook County receives allocations of the vaccine, it will be administered in the following order, with the following basic timeline:

Phase 1 - 1a – currently being distributed and will continue through Jan/Feb. 2021 and includes:

Group 1:   Hospitals; urgent care; skilled nursing and memory care facility health care providers and residents; tribal health programs; emergency medical service providers and other first responders.

Group 2:   Other long-term care facilities and congregate care facilities and congregate care sites, including health care providers and residents; hospice programs; mobile crisis care; and related services; individuals working in a correctional setting; personnel of group homes for children or adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Group 3:   Outpatient settings serving specific high-risk groups; in home care; day treatment services; non-emergency medical transport.

Group 4:   Health care personnel working in other outpatient and public health settings.

Phase 1 – 1b and 1c – Projected to be distributed February through March/April 2021:

                Essential Workers –Tier 1 – 6 has not been identified at this point

                High Risk Populations

Phase 2 – 2a and 2b – projected to be distributed May – August 2021

                Critical populations

                General populations

Phase 3 – projected to be distributed August – December 2021

                Continuation of previous phases

These next few months will be difficult, and it will take a lot of work to continue to follow the guidance for keeping ourselves and our community safe. 

It is understood that everyone is ready to get back to daily lives, but this may not happen for quite some time, as cases continue to increase in Crook County and across the state.  The increase in cases has placed Crook County in the Extreme Risk category and it is projected that will continue until at least mid-February.

At this point, the best thing we can do is to stay the course and continue protecting ourselves and those around us by following the guidance released by the state and suggested by the experts in the Oregon Health Authority.  PPE is still available and can be obtained through the health department.  Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need some. 

It will still be some time before there will be any resemblance of what life was like before COVID.

For more information or general questions, the Crook County Health Department is here to refer you to the right place to get answers - Office:  541-447-5165

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