COVID Cases Decline, But Don’t Let Guard Down

Case counts of COVID-19 in all three Central Oregon counties have been on the decline, but health officials say it is still critical to follow safe public health practices.

“Today, we have 17 patients at the St. Charles Bend hospital who are sick with COVID-19,” St. Charles President and CEO Joe Sluka stated. “This isn’t the highest number of hospitalizations for the virus in Central Oregon, nor is it the lowest. But many of these patients have been quite sick, which is an important reminder for all of us about how important it is to continue avoiding catching or spreading COVID-19.”

“Please be diligent about hand washing, masking and distancing – especially with new, more contagious variants of the virus spreading throughout the country. Vaccinations will also greatly help to reduce the incidence and severity of the virus, but access to vaccine supply remains a challenge.”

Regarding the latest local vaccination update: Deschutes County is expected to announce information on appointment availability on Fridays, with scheduling opening on Saturdays. To ensure you receive those announcements, connecting with the county’s communication channels. And to be clear, this is a tri-county effort, so this information applies to residents of Crook and Jefferson counties as well.

Sluka emphasized:  “As they did (yesterday), these vaccine appointments will fill up quickly. If you miss out one week, please don’t fret. More will open up in the following weeks. You’ll have more chances to get an appointment. And we will repeat this process until everyone who wants a vaccine gets one.”

If you are eligible to receive a vaccine, you can also check our St. Charles website for appointments at any time. If you need help registering online, refer to this video tutorial. A hotline is available for support from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The number to call is 541-699-5109.

In addition, the federal retail pharmacy program is now underway. While St. Charles and our partners at the county public health departments are not responsible for this program, we do encourage Central Oregonians to regularly check the following websites for appointment availability:

Each pharmacy is only receiving about 100 doses per week at this time, so appointments are likely to fill fast.

Finally, many primary care providers are now approved by the state of Oregon as vaccine administration sites. This includes our St. Charles Family Care clinics. This week we are administering 50 first doses to eligible patients through our St. Charles Family Care clinic in Madras. The clinic staff is reaching out to eligible patients directly to set up appointments. Please do not call the clinic to request an appointment as we do not want the phone lines to be overwhelmed.

To see how St. Charles campuses throughout Central Oregon have pitched in to care for all patients throughout the pandemic, take a look at our latest video.

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