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‘We’re back on alert’: Oregon hits ‘fourth surge’ of COVID-19, Gov. Brown, officials say

(Update: Adding governor's news release, links)

Frontline workers -- and their families -- now eligible for vaccine

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Despite a rising number of vaccinated Oregonians and widening eligibility, “the fourth surge of the virus is at our doorstep,” Gov. Kate Brown said Friday as she and state health officials pleaded with the public to keep up safety measures, despite growing COVID fatigue.

Fortunately, Brown said, Oregon hasn’t matched some other state’s large spikes in cases, but “our numbers are rising, and we’re back on alert.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blw6EfecaGg

“This is a race between the vaccines and the variants,” the governor said. “I know we’re all fed up with the pandemic … but we are in the last few miles of a marathon. We’ve come so far, run so hard, and are so close to the finish line. Don’t let the vaccines and the sunny, warm weather give us a false sense of security that we’re in the clear, because we’re not.”

Once again, Brown noted that Oregon consistently has had one of the nation’s lowest infection and mortality rates, thanks to Oregonians following those masking and distancing protocols. If we had the same infection rates as the national average, Brown said, we’d have had three times as many Oregonians die – more than 4,000 additional deaths.

“Your actions, and your smart choices have saved lives,” Brown told Oregonians. “Thank you.”

Despite the contamination that destroyed 15 million doses of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, increased shipments allowed Brown to announce that family members of frontline workers newly eligible for the vaccine are now also eligible for the vaccine as week. When grocery workers and other frontline workers make their appointments, Brown urged them to “make them for your entire family – adults of course.”

On Friday, Oregon also expanded its criteria of “underlying conditions” to match the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said Oregon won’t delay its eligibility timelines for the vaccine, despite the Johnson & Johnson disruption, and plans to hold to the national May 1 deadline for opening vaccine appointments to all Oregonians 16 and older.

Some counties could move to that phase by April 26, if appointments are available and strong efforts are being made to reach out to those at the highest risk of contracting the virus.

Oregon is averaging 33,000 vaccinations a day, but Allen and others expressed concern that demand has plateaued among senior Oregonians.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist, said while counties have seen improved risk levels in recent weeks, some could go the other way if cases continue to rise. He also expressed concern about the recent increase in daily cases and uptick in hospitalizations.

“COVID-19 is a resilient enemy,” Sidelinger said – while also noting that the numbers make clear that “schools are not a driver of transmission.”


News release from Gov. Brown's office:

Governor Kate Brown Announces Expanded Eligibility for Family of Frontline Workers, People with Underlying Conditions

Governor warns: "Fourth surge of the virus is at our doorstep."

(Salem, OR) — In a press briefing with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Governor Kate Brown today announced Oregon is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all family members of frontline workers. She also announced that Oregon is expanding its criteria of underlying health conditions to match the CDC's extended list. The Governor was joined by Patrick Allen, OHA Director, and Dr. Dean Sidelinger, State Epidemiologist.

"As we move into the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to deploy a vaccine strategy that is centered on prioritizing our most vulnerable, and ensuring access to the vaccine for everyone. To do this, we need to move in a manner that is both fast and fair," said Governor Brown.

"If you are a frontline worker as defined by the CDC, when you make a vaccine appointment for yourself, make them for your whole family, too. If you’re attending a community vaccine event, bring your family with you. We know it is not easy for everyone to find the time and transportation to get a vaccine. If you’re a frontline worker making the effort, bring your family, and do it all together."

The Governor is also asking Coordinated Care Organizations and commercial health insurance providers to reach out to their members with underlying conditions to share information about the importance of vaccinations, and how to get connected to a vaccine.

The Governor warned that Oregon's increase in cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks is cause for concern: "It’s clear that, in Oregon and across the country, the fourth surge of this virus is at our doorstep. While Oregon’s case numbers fortunately haven’t matched those of other states seeing large spikes, our numbers are rising and we are back on alert.

"The good news is, now when we face a surge, we know how to protect ourselves and others with powerful safety measures like mask wearing and avoiding large social gatherings. And we have three safe and effective vaccines rapidly rolling out. But make no mistake, this is a race between the vaccines and the variants. It is a critical moment for us all to double down so we can outrun this next wave."

Video Links

  • A recording of today's live-streamed press conference is available on YouTube. Please note the video starts at the 15:18 mark.
  • A recording of a Spanish language translation is available on OHA's Facebook page

A copy of the Governor's prepared remarks from today's press conference is available here.

More information on vaccines is available at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Comments

68 Comments

    1. So in your opinion… how is that possible- after all we’ve been led to believe that the **** Virus was responsible for more than 566k deaths nationwide to date- as in- catching the virus is a death sentence… but now we suddenly see surging new case numbers without the deaths… so how is that possible ? did the virus suddenly become weaker ? Are those infected today somehow “stronger” than those before ?? Or is it just simple doctoring of documents ??? What says you ?

  1. Nice try Hate Brown….not going to work. We are over your fear mongering. If you close the schools again, then fore all the teachers while you are at it

      1. Everyone is wearing the stupid masks and getting vaccinated and Deschutes County has only ever had 3% test positive you wacko. I will say if Covid Kate shuts puts in high category and shuts it down more the masks are gone for good and you will see what it has caused.

    1. Golly gosh Karen happy to wear a shirt and shoes inside businesses but too ignorant to wear a 1oz. Mask for 15 minutes!!! You should’ve stayed in school. Soooooooo much whining karen!!!

      1. Heads up people L@U and HG are the same person- so lemme knock the Festering Fester off his perch of deceit with some facts… That since Joke Biden declared himself the US President- he’s been at the helm for more than 146,000 US deaths due to the ***** Virus… that’s 146k deaths in a mere three months ! From the onset of the virus- it took President Trump “6 months” to hit that kind of death toll ! The same holds true for Oregon- that it took 7 months under Trump for our state to match Biden’s 3 month death toll ! Oh yeh… so much winning ! Here- do your own math !

        https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

        1. Ah… BGHW~ I see you are still taking your mean ugly pills. Maybe you should back off.

          As for Biden taking blame, how about this spin. He’s inherited your hero’s (DT) **** storm. Cases were ridiculously high during the holiday season, the vaccine rollout started in December while the flump administration was refusing to communicate.

          TBH ~ its beyond ignorant to compare the numbers. And if DT had of DONE something instead of living in the city of lies/ denial, maybe things would be different.

          Keep it up with your ignorance and hate. They are your game.

          Adios and happy trails.

  2. Hey Z21, you really need to move on. The Covid-19 story is so played out. Your other news story today is reporting that almost 50% of all Oregonians have received the vaccine, that’s two million or so of us! Let’s move on to more pressing issues. The damage to Oregon’s children, families and small business at the hands of its state government cannot be undone. Other states that have remained open at most all levels have not faired any better or worse then OR/WA/CA, so big lessons learned regarding the ineffectiveness of liberal progressive democrat “locking down” policy. Compare FL and CA, the statistics and numbers are scientific/empirical evidence which doesn’t lie.

      1. yeah, because we are beaten down with it every day. Deschutes County 3% ever tested positive less than 1% died. Be careful driving, that is way more dangerous.

      1. As if Biden is telling you the truth ? About the CDC findings into the origin of the ***** virus ?? About who organized and led from start to finish “Project Warp Speed” ??? Or how about whether or not Americans should even trust the vaccine- after Kamala Harris and Biden both went on record to denounce everything about the integrity and efficacy of the TRUMP VACCINE- that is now saving lives around the world ! Damn- you haters and your multiple handles can’t seem to get anything right !

        1. here’s how the rest of the media is handling the China connection- by using the word “CHINA” ! Can someone explain why the KTVZ moderator refuses to follow the standard national vocabulary when talking about China ? Here’s yer link headline… “Biden hasn’t talked to Chinese president about coronavirus origins”… “I have not had a conversation with President Xi,’ Biden tells Fox News”… Here’s yer link to the Z21 sister affiliate that they refuse exists- https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-chinese-president-xi-jinping-coronavirus-origins

    1. Yeah. No difference in statistics between California and Florida. Florida has not manipulated their statistics in any way. They emphatically did not fire any employees threatening to expose that they were fudging numbers. They did not serve warrants to obtain that actual data. Those are not the droids you’re looking for. You may want to rethink that moniker. You’ve got the first part wrong.

  3. AAAAANNNNDDDDDD….the goal post keeps moving. Fourth surge? So is she saying the vaccines aren’t working? Geez. Makes it sound like you will die if you go outside. Only 3.045% of Deschutes County residents have ever tested positive for covid. EVER!!! 3%????? Why is anything closed at all? Currently, 0.033% of Deschutes County residents have died of….or with covid like symptoms. It will always be here, we will always have some numbers to report. Don’t you think states like Florida or Texas that are wide open would be filling their streets with the dead by now if it’s as scary as Covid Kate says?

  4. “Don’t let the vaccines and the sunny, warm weather give us a false sense of security that we’re in the clear, because we’re not”. LET ME BE CLEAR, (she says that everytime she thinks the brainwashed are starting to question her stupid illegal mandates). Seriously pay attention to her press conferences.

    1. “The virus is way down and will be gone soon” #therealdonaldtrump “it’s just one person coming from China, we have totally under control. Everything is going to be just fine” #therealdonaldtrump “I want to thank president Xi on behalf of the American people for the tremendous job he’s done with the virus, even building hospitals in 10 days” DJT. Downplaying and lying about the virus would have been sooooooooooo much better for Oregon if only the hated Govenor Kate Brown had been as “tremendous” as big fat fired donnie the orange!!!!! Sooooooooooooooo much winning donnie!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!

      1. From March to June of 2020 the ***** Virus flat-lined- saw no growth at all…. then the West Coast Demokrat governors started meddling with the vocabulary (from ILI to CLI)- started placing elderly citizens in the same living quarters with virus infected people- suddenly Kate Brown has gone all stoopid- shuts down schools before nursing homes- can’t find her ventilators- convinces the state’s hospitals that if they want to survive this- they better produce some Covid ! The media runs scared- they act as if this is ebola- when in reality it’s a mild virus… but that doesn’t stop Z21 from promoting fear and anxiety on a daily basis ! Oh Yeh Fester “downplaying the lying” has got you where ? Stage Four of another China Virus Surge- courtesy of China Joe- the Wuhan Bat- and your local media- enjoy the ride Bunky- you earned it !

          1. I responded to your drivel and you censored my comment- Yer such a big guy on campus with your bony thumb on the McCarthy button- you should be ashamed ! Americans fought and died for our freedom of speech- whether you agree with it or not- what you are doing is disgusting- I’d fire yer bum in a second ! sorry- but I got relatives who went to war for what you are violating ! I’d encourage on and all to contact the station over this BS- cause if you don’t- yer all next !

            1. I’m damn proud of what I do, every day, especially putting up with hateful trolls such as yourself. Your very comments disprove your claims as you abuse that freedom our relatives fought and died for.

    1. Apparently not. Obvioulsy people haven’t been doing much of anything because here we go again. Apparently some of the idiots out there are just “playing silly little games” because the problem is still here. The virus is still spreading thanks to anti-maskers, virus-deniers, and people who just don’t care about anyone but themselves. Thanks a lot.

      1. Please report the percentage of positive and death rates in Deschutes County….I’ll help 3% ever positive, that’s 97% not positive. 0.003% died, about 99.99% did not die.

      2. You ready to get publicly humiliated again… over this statement… “The virus is still spreading thanks to anti-maskers, virus-deniers, and people who just don’t care about anyone but themselves. Thanks a lot.”… OK ham-hock… if this was true… how do you explain the fact that the OHA and the whole of the USA have determined that the seasonal flu this year is non-existent ??? Good luck stumbling around your bong for an answer !

        1. Stop with the weak-kneed warnings B- either put up or… well… you know ! Laughing@You-Herr dumbskull- and Fester are all the same loser… so insist on one handle- not three (or more) or tell him to shove off !

            1. What! Wishy is a bonafide jackass. He is full of hatred and obviously a very disturbed individual who is not fit for human company. He still has rights to spill his inane filth within the limits of incitement/hate speech laws etc. God, I hate saying that.

              1. Cripes Gramps- that musta been hard to write- but in all honesty- if Baloney Lerten is allowed this stunt- you all are next ! He’s wallowing in a puddle of over-confidence and arrogance I can’t say I’ve ever seen before… so either this site is shutting down (and he’s going out with a bang) or he’s moving on- cause censorship like what’s being promoted here has no place in Amerika- not even Joe Biden’s ‘Merika ! I thank you for the back-handed support- But will still come after your warped political views in a heart beat !

            2. “We have had complaints about YOUR comments, so they will be edited or deleted if necessary.”…. No You Haven’t ! You have never had a single complaint about anything I’ve ever posted- and if you have- name names ! I’ll debate my accusers based on the trials of John Peter Zenger (1697–1746) as your claims of anonymous monikers whining against the US Constitution only goes so far- especially when it comes to censorship- your cancel culture- all attempt to stifle free expression are “oh so McCarthyist”- and you should be ashamed for your lame threat ! If you personally can’t handle my well researched comments and ever thought provoking wit- then that’s your loss- how dare you deny my legion of fans the opportunity to cheer or my detractors a fair shot at my glass chin ! You’ve really outdone yerself on this post April Fools Day- as clearly you are the biggest fool of all !

              1. The way you attack your critics mercilessly, of course I’ll protect the person who filed the complaint. You have ripped all over those who dare to criticize you directly here. Your behavior is atrocious and you know it.
                BTW, I turned 65 on April Fool’s Day, Mr. BarneyNEVERgetshiswish (you’re still here – your very screen name is a daily lie) – and I’m not going anywhere — this site will outlive and outlast your awful attacking mannerisms, full of twisted untruths and “dares” never taken up, for reasons obvious to all but you. If this comment system does go away, you will take all the credit and others will rightly give you all the blame. I pity those who operate wherever site you spend way too much of your time on next, but will be glad to be done with your waste of my and many others’ valuable time.

                1. First of all- it would go against my personal nature not to honestly wish you a Happy Birthday- in many cultures I’ve lived in- one’s Birthday is the highlight of the year and I’ll not tarnish the tradition as I hope you spent this important day with those you love- taking the time to reflect on another year gone by. As for the rest of your post- I do not believe it is your responsibility to protect- shelter- or assist a single comment or individual out there that I respond to- it literally is- ‘If you can’t stand the heat- get out of the kitchen”. I see no reason for healthy dialogue to be threatened with closure… you have TOS standards- stop trying to adapt them to your own personal beliefs. They are fine the way they are and I “Never” violated them ! Nobody is forced to respond to my comments- they do so of their own free will and misguided sense of confidence… your job is simple- weed out the vulgarities, the personal attacks (which you fail at miserably), and the off topic comments… it really is that simple !

                2. If I weeded out personal attacks, you wouldn’t be visible here. And you know it. You prove that with your attacks on ME – unwarranted, untrue – every single day.
                  So let the hypocrisy flow, as always. But don’t expect me to let it all slide without occasionally calling you on it. Perhaps I spare one of the unfortunate others from your nasty attacks.
                  You are a sad, sad individual. Whether you are like this in real life – and if so, my sympathies to all who know you personally – or if this is your alter ego “outlet,” to which I can only tell those in your life who are thus spared this type of hateful, sneering interaction with you even more than they already must suffer, “you’re welcome.”

                3. “You are a sad, sad individual.”… Actually – No- I’m not ! I’m well educated- well traveled- speak three different languages-have a great job- people who I get together with to love and laugh till the belly aches. I have more than 500 employees world-wide that would go to war for this guy who gave them opportunities- paychecks- invaluable skills. I simply disagree with your political and philosophical views of the world- and I do so in an honest and unfiltered manner. greater people than ourselves have said- “Truth is found in life”. This means that your truth and mine will be different according to our lifetime experiences… mine have just been much wider than yours… you could learn a lot- if you only chose to listen. Shoganai- key sera sera- thats the way it is !

                4. OK, let me clarify, HERE you are a sad, sad individual. I have no idea how much your sad persona here is what you’re like in real life. And I don’t want to know. A civil debate on politics would be wonderful, but you just don’t have it in you – you used to be folksy, now you’re just mean. HERE. I have to “listen” to you all day and night, and you rarely can post a single thought without either saying something I know not to be true, or speaking in such a mean and nasty way that there’s no hope of constructive dialogue or interaction. The black and white world of “our side is always right and your side is always wrong” — that does not led itself to any civil debate, especially the way you practice it. Your “prove me wrong” crud – who’d bother trying?

                5. “HERE. I have to “listen” to you all day and night”… ???… You obviously have me mistaken for Neverdumper-Kuya- keyser-anonymous- or any one of these bozos on the day-shift ! Have you ever once complained about their mass postings- their personal attacks- their off topic and rude comments ??? “and you rarely can post a single thought without either saying something I know not to be true”… as if you and KTVZ have never posted- written- “aired” something not true ??? Like… Hillary in a landslide ? Russia-Russia-Russia ?? Brett Cavanaugh raped women- Bill Clinton didn’t ??? The Covington High school boys started a riot while wearing maga hats ???? all things Stormy Danels- the Steele Dossier-Impeachment over a phone call…. Deaths due to the Corona Virus !!!!!! Really barney L- you pointing your finger at me- a common laymen- not in the business of reporting factual news- and that’s what you accuse me of ???? I dare say- no need to ‘pity” anyone but yerself… that’s some serious denial yer suffering through !

                6. Keep bringing up national stories we don’t write or edit and that flow automatically to 1,000s of news websites across the country.
                  Feel free to call for us to move to another news service. But don’t claim we write that stuff. We’re busy reporting local news. Just about all the regulars have had warnings or comments deleted. And some have even said after they understood, in follow-up postings. They have been mostly far kinder than you, and supportive of the sometimes tough calls I make. Blessedly, they also usually write fewer, shorter comments.

                7. Happy birthday, Old Coot! And thanks for deleting my comment as usual whenever you get called out, just like I told you would! Looks like you’re having fun with your buddy here, enjoy!

                8. I let many people attack me personally here, as you know. It must have been something else. For my own sanity, I try very hard to forget each comment after making the call. Can you blame me? Of course you can, all the haters do.

  5. there is plenty out there that will fall right in line and be shaking from this and kate is power hungry she would welcome another shut down if we get to 1000 cases a day again if counties move up a category in her risk assessment we will get a stern finger wagging from her and she will hail sniffles as the greatest thing to happen to us. all the while barney will be saying she is going by science and science isnt wrong

  6. Why are they making everyone where masks? The numbers clearly show this virus isn’t deadly at all for healthy people. I understand people wearing a mask if they have health issues but if you are healthy wearing a mask it’s doing more harm than good! The numbers don’t lie. 98.6% + survival rate! There’s something fishy about this whole thing! It’s clearly about control nothing to do with safety at all! Deal free to comment and prove me wrong!

    1. I’m not interested in proving you wrong- I’m more interested in setting you straight ! Masks alone won’t work ! It’s no different then telling a construction worker that as long as he has ear protection on- he’s safe ! That’s total BS. It takes a combination of PPE to prevent injury… and the “C” Virus is no different. America was set up to fail by the Demokrat party of haters and angries who wanted to oust President Trump… i said it from day one- Mu-Gu-Wu is the key… “Mask up- Glove up- Wash up” ! I also stated very clearly- if you have a loved one in a nursing home or long term care facility… Get Them Out ! Had all of America followed these basic steps- thousands of lives in nursing homes (especially in NY-Jersey-Michigan) would have been saved- and LTC facilities are the leading locations for deaths associated with the “C” virus. If you personally don’t want to wear a mask- fine. Just stay 8 feet away from me, wash yer hands or wear gloves constantly, and go about your daily life… it really is that simple.

      1. Ahh masks do anything for you big guy, nano particles are so mico scopic you would need to go around wear a positive pressure resperator 🤦 my point is do the math, 98.6% + survival rate. This is a free country if you are a scared sheep then it’s your right to wear a mask but it’s also your right not to wear a mask. This has nothing to do with a virus it’s all about controlling you and taking away all of your rights! Communism is knocking on your front door pal! Wake up!!!

  7. 4th wave just how many waves does this so called apocalyptic destroyer of a virus have its gonna make surfers envious and they dont see that many tasty waves at a beach. this is slowly playing into her hands as she would push to make masks permanent. At weddings during this pandemic instead of saying you may kiss the bride do they just go you may now shake the bride’s hand

  8. Fake news on steroids. How can we be having a “fourth surge” when we haven’t even had a first, second, or third surge? It’s a HOAX! Covid-19 does not exist.

  9. this is gonna be the fuel she will want to use to get the permanent mask mandate into law and lot of people will be angry about it so will be interested to see how she demands it be enforced, the city law enforcements have better things to do than arrest everyone they see without a mask

  10. Get OVER it, Kate! One can only cry wolf so many times before we all lose interest. Keep up the vaccines and let’s move on and enjoy our lives and this gorgeous place we live. So much fear….why do people want to live like this??

  11. Happy birthday Barney; you are a good man!

    “Policy decisions have health consequences and these should be guided by public health recommendations, not political beliefs.” This is the take-home message of a new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

    https://academictimes.com/states-with-gop-governors-had-worse-covid-19-outcomes/

    And, undesirous of casting blame, I have to mention that this study revealed significant periods during the pandemic when death rates were about 1.8 times higher in states with Republican governors.

    It is just too soon to drop our guard. Anyone who visited downtown Bend last Saturday would have observed widespread flouting of the most basic precautions. This is a world in which a changeable and opportunistic virus lurks and exploits every situation that contributes to its spread and to its subsequent mutation into even more contagious and deadly variants.

    The states’ fragmented war on COVID-19 has resulted in a resounding defeat. No corner of the planet has been ravaged like the United States. The nation makes up 4% of the world population, but has accounted for 20% of the nearly 2.5 million killed in the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center and the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Epidemiological modeling has proven to be highly accurate from day one of the pandemic. Let’s heed the warnings and act to–as always–flatten the curve. The 1918 pandemic (inaccurately named the Spanish Flu, as it originated in Kansas) lasted more than two years. Our national death count will soon exceed the 1918-1920 toll.

    The vaccines are wondrous, but to succeed, they need our help to quash the spread of Covid-19.

    Governor Brown has often acted courageously; she has buckled at times to political pressure, but in the long run she has prevented the virus from overwhelming our capacity to take care of people and, yes, she has saved many lives with the mandates.

  12. Also, let’s clear up any misrepresentations about Dr. Sidelinger, our state “epidemiologist.” He’s a pediatrician, and his experience before heading up OHA is this: “Child Health Medical Officer and INTERIM Deputy Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.” So, our governor is relying on a pediatrician during a pandemic that affects the elderly the most. He is NOT a trained, nor board certified epidemiologist nor infectious disease doctor.

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