Tillamook County COVID deaths quadrupled in past 4 weeks


'August hit with the delta variant and that's when we really got hit,' said David Yamamoto, chair of Tillamook County Board of Commissioners

TILLAMOOK, Ore. (KOIN) — Tillamook County has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases and a spike in deaths since August.

At a county commissioner’s meeting on Wednesday, a spokesperson with Tillamook County Community Health Centers said they’ve seen an increase in severity over the past couple of months.

To date, Tillamook County has had 23 COVID-related deaths — 17 of whom were unvaccinated, three who had no vaccine records and one who was fully vaccinated. The remaining two passed away within the past week; their vaccine status was unclear.

For the first 18 months of the pandemic, Tillamook County had recorded five COVID-related deaths, the Tillamook County Public Health Department said. That number quadrupled just in the past four weeks. Officials said a 74-year-old man died Sept. 10 at a hospital and a 54-year-old woman passed away at a hospital four days later.

“August hit with the delta variant and that’s when we really got hit,” said David Yamamoto, chair of Tillamook County Board of Commissioners. “We don’t feel that mandates are the way to solve this problem but we are telling people that their strongest defense against COVID-19 is to become vaccinated.”

A commercial crabber who spoke to KOIN 6 on the condition of anonymity said he was sick with the virus for about 17 days and experienced fluid build-up in his lungs which caused some breathing difficulty.

“Family members all ended up getting sick — two of them were fully vaccinated,” he said, adding that he believes it’s only a matter of time before everyone is exposed. “Herd immunity — whatever you want to call it — everyone is going to get it. My take on it now, whether you are vaccinated or not, at some point, you are going to test positive for it.”

On Thursday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 11 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID in Tillamook County.

“We’re seeing a decline in numbers related to COVID testing and treatment in our facility that have prompted us to re-open elective surgery this coming Monday, Sept. 20,” said John Hay, a communication manager for Adventist Health in Tillamook.

County health officials said they are tracking about 22 outbreaks, 12 of which have been confirmed. The other 10 are pending.

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