Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Portland hospitals see uptick in staff vaccinations, OHA reports record number of COVID deaths

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Oct. 13 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Portland hospitals see increase in staff vaccinations as deadline approaches

As the deadline for Oregon’s healthcare worker COVID vaccine mandate approaches, Portland hospitals are seeing an increase in staff vaccinations. Legacy Health reported that its staff vaccination rate has increased from 85% to 95%. Of the remaining 5%, which is around 700 people, 150 of them are in the process of getting fully vaccinated. The remainder have been placed on leave. A majority of the religious or medical exemptions requested by Legacy employees were rejected.

Other hospital systems have reported an increase in vaccinations among staff as well. Kaiser Permanente said its vaccination rate increased from 79% to 89%. Providence said its vaccination rate increased from 80% to 90%. OHSU reported an increase from 86% to 94%. Salem Health said their vaccination rate moved from 75% to 88%.

2. OHA reports record number of COVID-related deaths in single day

The Oregon Health Authority reported 82 COVID-related deaths on Tuesday, the highest number of deaths ever reported in a single day in Oregon. The new report pushes the state’s total pandemic death toll to 4,084. According to OHA, the jump in deaths is in part due to a lag in reporting as state epidemiologists examine death certificates, as well as the time lag between when a person contracts COVID-19 and when they die from COVID-19. This is why reported deaths may remain high even as daily case counts decline, according to OHA.

OHA also reported 1,413 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 345,344. There were 2,773,754 Oregonians with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,556,839 that have completed a vaccine series, as of Tuesday.

3. NYT columnist Nick Kristof forms political action committee for gubernatorial run in Oregon

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof officially formed a political action committee on Tuesday, his first official move towards entering the 2022 Democratic primary for Oregon governor. He filed papers with the secretary of state, allowing him to begin raising money and hiring staff ahead of a likely campaign announcement. The Times reported last month that Kristof has taken a leave of absence as he considers a run for office.

Kristof will join a crowded Democratic primary, led by House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read. Due to term limits, Gov. Kate Brown cannot run again.

“I think that he’ll be a very attractive candidate,” Carol Butler, a political consultant who has been working with Kristof, told OPB. “I think he’ll attract the resources he needs to run a very competitive race.”

4. North Portland affordable senior apartment complex reports 14th case of Legionnaires' disease this year

The Multnomah County Health Department recently reported the 14th case of Legionnaires’ disease at an affordable senior apartment complex in north Portland since January 2021, urging residents to permanently relocate amid concerns that disease-causing bacteria still remains in the water supply. The last time a resident became sick was June 17. Residents at Rosemont Court told KGW that they won’t leave, with some saying the complex has become their home and others, even those who have gotten sick, saying they can’t afford to find a new place.

Since January, county health officials have been working to destroy any potential bacteria at the apartment complex and have installed a disinfection system and filters on faucets. Property management and the county have pledged to continue working to make the water safer.

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