Wasco County moved to Extreme Risk April 30; walk-ins now welcome at vaccine clinics

This Friday, May 7, a mobile vaccine clinic will visit several local restaurant/pubs and offer the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and all participants will receive $10 in tokens for food.

“This is a fun way to make the vaccine easily accessible to the public,” said Dr. Miriam McDonell, Health Officer for North Central Public Health District.

NCPHD has made use of a van provided by Wasco County to do mobile vaccine clinics. The mobile clinic will run from 5 p.m. until about 9 p.m., and will begin at Freebridge Brewing, then at around 6:15 p.m. will head to the Bargeway Pub for awhile, and then wrap up at about 7:45 p.m. Sunshine Mill Artisan Plaza and Winery. More establishments may be added later.

Participants will receive the free vaccine and two $5 tokens imprinted with the saying “Take a Bite out of COVID.” The tokens must be redeemed that evening for food.

Participants will be vaccinated in the mobile van and then will hang out in provided chairs on the sidewalk for a 15-minute observation period.

Event promoter Nolan Hare plans to take advantage of the convenient event to get his vaccine. “I’m looking forward to being first in line when the mobile vaccine clinic comes to the Bargeway. It’s encouraging to see local county leadership and the health district partnering with local businesses to meet people where they are, and provide vaccinations in a comfortable, convenient setting. I hope everyone takes advantage of this opportunity.”

“This is an opportunity for us to meet citizens where they are and bring the vaccine to them, if they choose to get it,” said Tyler Stone, Wasco County administrative officer. “This is also a way to support businesses.”

For more information, visit COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon, contact North Central Public Health District at 541-506-2600, visit on the web at www.ncphd.org or find them on Facebook.

Extreme Risk

With 74 cases of COVID-19 in Wasco County in the most recent 14-day period, and a rapid surge in cases and hospitalizations statewide, the county is one of 15 that moved to the extreme risk category on April 30.

In the “extreme risk of community spread” category, only outdoor dining is allowed, and closing time is 11 p.m. Outdoor seating can now be 100, up from 50. Gyms can have six members in attendance at a time; churches are at 25 percent indoor capacity; stores 50 percent capacity; and theaters can have only six people per shared space. Offices are required to do work remotely and close to the public, if possible. Long term care facilities can have outdoor visitation only.

Schools can continue with hybrid or in-person learning models in the extreme risk category. Schools can limit to distance learning only as needed to address current transmission within a school. In recognition of the lower transmission risk from being outdoors, capacity at outdoor sporting events is increased from 50 to 100.

Changes to risk categories were not due to happen for another week, but due to the surge in cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Kate Brown announced risk category updates today. She urged Oregonians to get vaccinated, saying it is the fastest way to lift health and safety restrictions.

Kathy Schwartz, a Wasco County commissioner and the chair of North Central Public Health District’s board of health, echoed that, saying, “My message is to get vaccinated to keep our economy driving. I’m hopeful that vaccine acceptance will increase,” said Schwartz, a registered nurse who volunteers as a vaccinator at local vaccine clinics.

In Wasco County, 38.53 percent of the total population has received at least one dose of vaccine. That slightly lags the statewide total of 40.2 percent.

North Central Public Health District’s vaccine clinics have numerous openings. To book an appointment, visit www.ncphd.org/book-vaccine.

Walk-ins

NCPHD also started taking walk-ins at their clinics on April 29. The clinic are at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, 402 E. Scenic Drive (next to Columbia Gorge Community College).