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The Columbia Press

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More people become eligible for coronavirus vaccine

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Twenty Oregon counties were granted the authority to begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to expanded eligibility groups, the state announced Wednesday. Clatsop was not among them.

The counties declared they have plenty of vaccine and the pool of takers is drying up.

Those counties are Benton, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union and Wheeler.

“Moving up vaccination in these counties will enable us to vaccinate our frontline workers more quickly while enabling counties with adequate supply to fully utilize their allotment of COVOD-19 vaccine,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said.

Eligibility in those counties is now open to frontline workers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, people living in multigenerational households and people age 16 to 44 with one or more health conditions that pose an increased risk.

More than 1.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Oregon.

In Clatsop County, 14,075 people had received one or more doses as of March 26; the county releases its statistics on vaccines on Fridays.

Those eligible for the shot in Clatsop include people 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions, seniors 65 and older, educators and childcare providers, plus all those previously eligible such as healthcare workers and first responders.

During the past seven days, Clatsop County has had eight new cases for a total of 838 since the pandemic began. Seven have died and the rest have recovered or are recovering at home.

By ZIP code, there had been 185 cases in Warrenton, 44 in Hammond, 234 in Seaside/Gearhart, and 321 in 97103, which includes Astoria and much of the unincorporated parts of the county.

Scare in Lincoln County

On Saturday, one of the adults in custody at the Lincoln County Jail began to have symptoms of COVID-19. He and everyone else in his housing unit were tested using a rapid test and five tests came back positive.

All of those inmates were moved quickly into a housing unit that had been left vacant in case the need to quarantine arose.

The inmates who tested positive were given a second, more accurate test and all staff members were tested.

Bend coffee shop fined

Kevista Coffee in Bend was fined $27,470 by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health for violating three rules designed to protect employees from coronavirus.

The company willfully continued to expose workers to the virus, despite a public health order limiting the capacity of indoor dining to zero in an “extreme risk” county.

OSHA launched the investigation in response to multiple complaints about Kevista. An inspection found the company willfully began allowing indoor dining beginning Dec. 3.

Owners Krista and Kevin Lauinger said they chose to re-open the coffee shop even though they were aware it was against workplace health requirements.

The fine is three times the minimum penalty for such a violation. OSHA Administrator Michael Wood said his decision reflects the need to ensure a more appropriate deterrent effect where employers insist on disregarding health and safety standards.

Such willful behavior puts employees at risk and enables the employer to achieve a competitive advantage over businesses that comply with the requirements.

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