COVID-19 vaccine

Both the Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority are recommending people put masks back on to combat the threat of COVID-19.

But in Coos County, that is not likely to lead to renewed mandates against the disease.

Dr. Eric Gleason, deputy director of Coos Health and Wellness, said the county is seeing an increase in cases, with almost all of the cases among those who have not been vaccinated.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 60 active cases in Coos County. The good news is, the cases seem to be mild with no one in the hospital due to COVID.

“I think we kind of anticipated this was going to happen,” Gleason said. “We haven’t seen any outbreaks in the county. We have seen sporadic cases. It has just been a steady trickle.”

Gleason said in Coos County and the state around 95% of new cases are among those who have not been vaccinated. Even though there have been some “breakthrough” cases among those fully vaccinated, Gleason said the vaccine remains effective.

“There’s no reason not to be vaccinated, honestly,” Gleason said. “Yu can trip into a vaccine clinic right now.”

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control updated its COVID guidance, urging even the fully vaccinated to wear masks indoors in areas where cases are rising. While the CDC did not list exact locations, most of the new reports highlights large metropolitan cities like Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Gleason said as of Tuesday he does not expect any changes to the current rules in Oregon, where most statewide restrictions have been lifted.

“I haven’t heard anything that would suggest that,” he said. “I know the state has said they don’t intend on bringing back up any restrictions. So, it would be on individual counties and the board of commissioners to put on restrictions.”

Gleason said Coos Health and Wellness is not recommending Coos County bring back mask mandates. Instead, he said the focus should be on getting more people vaccinated.

He said he understands many are hesitant to get the vaccine, but more than seven months after vaccines started, he said the evidence is clear the vaccine is safe and effective. While those who get COVID do build up a natural immunity, Gleason said it is short-lived and more limited than the vaccine.

“The vaccine has shown pretty good long-term antibodies where your natural antibodies may go away,” he said.

He said most natural antibodies wane within two months while the vaccine is going strong eight months in. He said, ultimately, he expects booster shots will be needed, likely on a yearly basis.


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