Governor Kate Brown provided an update on the current state of COVID-19 in Oregon. She was joined by Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Chief Medical Officer at the Oregon Health & Science University Dr. Renee Edwards, and Lead Data Scientist at OHSU’s Business Intelligence Unit Dr. Peter Graven.
“This week we identified the first cases of the Omicron variant in Oregon. While we are all still learning about this new variant, it is clear from the experiences of the United Kingdom and other countries that we have only weeks to prepare before Omicron hits our communities and health care systems in full force,” said Governor Brown. “Masks, vaccines, and the incredible efforts of our health care workers, public health partners, and National Guard members have seen us through the Delta surge. We will need to make the same statewide, collaborative efforts to see us through Omicron.
“OHSU’s modeling shows that we have about a three-week window to prepare for this next surge. Boosters are our best protection against Omicron. The state will be taking important steps to make sure our most vulnerable Oregonians have access to booster shots and to make sure we are ready to support our hospital systems for another surge. A big part of that plan will depend on each and every one of you.
“Today I am calling on one million Oregonians to step up and get their booster dose by the end of January. I’ve directed OHA to get the vaccine supply and distribution capacity in place to support this goal. However, we will only reach it if everyone does their part. Get your booster shot. Boosters work, and are incredibly effective at continuing your protection against this virus and hospitalization. If you aren’t yet vaccinated, now is the time. This can be a matter of life or death.”