Vaccines available

The number of COVID cases in Coos County may have peaked, but the devastation is still being felt across the county.

On Tuesday, Coos Health & Wellness reported only 30 new COVID cases were reported over the long holiday weekend and the active cases fell to 498 after crossing 600 just a week ago. But despite the reduced cases, five more COVID deaths were reported Tuesday.

The new deaths bring the number of people who died after contracting COVID to 61 since the pandemic began. More than a quarter of those have been reported in the last three weeks.

And the death toll may continue to climb as Coos Health & Wellness reported 22 people were in the hospital with COVID, as the ongoing pandemic continues to put a strain on the medical industry.

Due to the rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, every hospital in Coos County has altered its internal policies, limiting hospital visitors and eliminating many elective surgeries.

Dr. Eric Gleason, assistant director of Coos Health & Wellness, said the vast majority of people being impact by COVID have not received vaccines. Across Oregon, more than 87 percent of new cases are among those unvaccinated while more than 95 percent of hospitalizations and deaths are among those who have not received the vaccine.

While the vast majority of those dying from COVID are the elderly, the virus has been impacting a younger population more than ever. In August, more than 170 people under 19 tested positive for the virus, easily the highest segment of the pandemic.

Gleason said with school starting this week, he expects case numbers among children to rise, although he is confident local schools have good plans in place to protect students and teachers.

If you think you may have COVID-19 or have been close to someone who has, a drive-up testing clinic is being offered from 8 a.m. to noon weekdays at Bay Area Hospital. The tests are free and results are known almost immediately.

Regardless of the test result, Gleason said if you have COVID symptoms, you should take precautions such as staying home for at least 10 days, wearing a mask and social distancing. And once symptoms ease, get vaccinated.

To schedule a vaccine, visit www.cooshealthandwellness.org.

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