PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Largely powered by the delta variant, a surge of COVID-19 cases is hitting the region hard — to the point of record-breaking numbers in Clark County.
Clark County health leaders say they are seeing the highest-ever level of COVID-19 cases in the area, with 225 new cases a day last week. They say 23% of hospital beds in the county are currently filled with COVID-19 patients.
Only 58.5% percent of eligible people in Clark County are fully vaccinated, according to the county’s vaccine dashboard.
Despite this, PeaceHealth put dozens of workers on leave and told them not to come back until they are vaccinated against COVID-19.
It’s the first hospital group in the area to certify that, as of now, all staff at the Vancouver and Longview Medical Centers are vaccinated.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lawrence Neville told KOIN 6 News 5% of the staff who have a religious or medical exemption are on paid leave. But those who simply refuse to get vaccinated are on unpaid leave. Neville said they made plans to fill those positions.
Both Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown mandated health care workers get vaccinated by mid-October.
There is worry, too, about what’s ahead for unvaccinated children. The flu season is about to start, and the RSV virus is already circulating among children.
Flu vaccines are available for anyone older than 6 months.
And health officials remind everyone to not let your guard down and wear a mask.