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Evasive Variant Confirmed in Douglas County; First P Variant Case on West Coast

8:53 PM · Mar 2, 2021

(DCCRT) Douglas County COVID-19 Test Results: As of 12:00 pm Today, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, there are TWENTY-FIVE (25) people with new positive test results to report since our noon case update yesterday. The total number of cases (people with positive test results and presumptives) in Douglas County is now at 2,519*. Currently, there are SEVENTEEN (17) Douglas County COVID-19 patients that are being hospitalized, thirteen locally and four out-of-the-area. Our Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team, under the direction of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, continue to devote all resources available to our local COVID response. Douglas County Reports First COVID-19 P.1 Variant in Oregon and on the West Coast Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer, our Douglas County Public Health Officer, has confirmed the first positive case related to the COVID-19 P.1 variant in Douglas County. This cases marks the first case of the P.1 variant in Oregon, as well as the first case on the west coast of the United States. There have only been 10 other cases of the P.1 variant reported in the United States, in Minnesota (2), Florida (5), Oklahoma (1), Alaska (1) and Maryland (1). The P.1 variant confirmed last night from a swab sent to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) for genome sequence testing, appears to be related to business travel outside the United States to and from Brazil. DPHN sent a sample of a local COVID-19 test swab to the CDC in at the end of January 2021, for a genome sequence DNA test, and they received the results back last night for the positive P.1 variant. Douglas County is among one of the few counties that continues to investigate, track and support all local COVID-19 cases in our county, via our incredibly, dedicated epidemiological teams at Douglas Public Health Network. It is through the continued diligence of the County, DPHN and the Epi-Team staff that we have recognized and corrected discrepancies in the state system, identified anomalies with testing facilities, traced and supported hundreds of residents in isolation and quarantine, and submitted samples to the CDC for variant testing. The COVID-19 P.1 variant was first detected in people travelling from Brazil to Japan in early 2021. The P.1 variant has been seen mostly in Brazil, but there have been cases in Japan, as well as the United Kingdom. The P.1 variant has 17 mutations from the original virus and appears to be more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain. There is concern that the current COVID-19 vaccines, and those that have contracted the previous virus will have less protection and immunity. Local Public Health shares in the worry with the CDC, OHA and the entire scientific community, that the COVID-19 variants could be more infectious, perhaps more deadly, and maybe less well controlled by our current vaccine. It is important to note that local public health is also awaiting results of other samples that were sent to the CDC for genome sequence DNA testing for COVID-19 variants. What is a Virus Variant and What Does It Mean? Shared in part from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). It is well known that viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States, and globally during this pandemic. In the United States, cases have been reported linked to the B.1.1.7 variant (2,400 cases, and identified by the United Kingdom in Fall of 2020), the B.1.351 variant (53 cases and identified in South Africa in October 2020) and the P.1 variant (10 cases and first identified from travelers from Brazil in January 2021). In Oregon, we have only seen 10 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant reported. Click on this link to view a map from the CDC showing the number of confirmed COVID-19 variant cases by state: Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating globally. These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths. Information about the characteristics of these COVID-19 variants is rapidly emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them. It has been reported that the B.1.1.7 variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. In January 2021, experts in the UK reported that this variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variant viruses, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding. It has since been detected in many countries around the world. The B.1.1.7 variant was first detected in the US at the end of December 2020. In South Africa, another variant called B.1.351 emerged independently of B.1.1.7. Originally detected in early October 2020, B.1.351 shares some mutations with B.1.1.7. Cases caused by this variant have been reported in the United States at the end of January 2021. In Brazil, a variant called P.1 emerged that was first identified in travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan, in early January. This variant contains a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies. This variant was first detected in the US at the end of January 2021. Scientists worldwide continue to monitor changes in the COVID-19 virus, including changes to the spikes on the surface of the virus, which indicate a mutation. These studies, including genetic analyses of the virus, are helping scientists understand how changes to the virus might affect how it spreads and what happens to people who are infected with it. So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway. A news story released yesterday from the NY Times, titled, “Virus Variant in Brazil Infected Many Who Had Already Recovered From COVID-19”, provides more insight into the P.1 variant sweeping Brazil. “The first detailed studies of the so-called P.1 variant show how it devastated a Brazilian city. Now scientists want to know what it will do elsewhere,” stated reporter Carl Zimmer. “In just a matter of weeks, two variants of the coronavirus have become so familiar that you can hear their inscrutable alphanumeric names regularly uttered on television news. B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain, has demonstrated the power to spread far and fast. In South Africa, a mutant called B.1.351 can dodge human antibodies, blunting the effectiveness of some vaccines. Scientists have also had their eye on a third concerning variant that arose in Brazil, called P.1. Research had been slower on P.1 since its discovery in late December, leaving scientists unsure of just how much to worry about it. “I’ve been holding my breath,” said Bronwyn MacInnis, an epidemiologist at the Broad Institute. Now three studies offer a sobering history of P.1’s meteoric rise in the Amazonian city of Manaus. It most likely arose there in November and then fueled a record-breaking spike of coronavirus cases. It came to dominate the city partly because of an increased contagiousness, the research found.” Click here to read the rest of the story. What this means for our residents is that rigorous and increased compliance with proven public health recommendations, such as getting the COVID-19 vaccine, physical distancing from others not in your household, the use of masks and face coverings, proper and frequent hand washing, staying home when you are sick, and isolation and quarantine, are essential to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, to protect you, your family, your friends, local businesses and our communities. COVID-19 Related Death of a Douglas County Resident Our Douglas County Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer, has confirmed the death of another Douglas County resident related to the COVID-19 virus. Our fifty-fifth death is a 91-year-old woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday, February 19, 2021 and passed away on Sunday, February 28, 2021. In the interest of privacy for the loved ones of these residents, no additional information will be released. Each death related to COVID-19 is painful for all Douglas County residents, and a sad reminder of the terrible impact COVID-19 has had in our local communities. The Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Dannenhoffer, DPHN and the DCCRT team extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to all family members, friends, relatives, co-workers and community members of those who have passed after contracting this deadly virus. Local Contacts and Cases Being Supported in Isolation and Quarantine Today, was a record day for the largest number of contacts to be recorded in one day, 206. Currently, DPHN is supporting 196 cases in isolation, as well as another 682 contacts in quarantine in Douglas County. Isolation is recommended for confirmed and presumptive cases, quarantine is recommended for contacts of confirmed or presumptive cases. Currently, staff is supporting an astounding 872 total contacts and cases in isolation or quarantine. This number represents a snapshot of the significant amount of work being done locally to help control the spread of COVID. COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility** According to the State of Oregon/OHA’s vaccination eligibility plan, as of today, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, residents in the following categories are eligible to make an appointment for the COVID-19 Vaccine: - Phase 1-A, Groups 1-4: All health care facilities, providers and workers; first responders; EMS, skilled, long term and memory care facilities; correctional facility workers; tribal health programs; VA workers and qualifying Veterans; caregivers of medically fragile individuals who live at home; age-eligible individuals with a medical condition or disability who receive services in their homes. - Phase 1-B, Group 1: Child care providers, early learning and K-12 educators and staff. - Phase 1-B, Groups 2-5: Residents 65-years-of-age or older Now Eligible: Phase 1-B, Group 5: Seniors 65 And Older** Douglas County (541) 672-3311 Douglas Public Health Network (541) 440-3571 According to the State, beginning Monday, March 1, 2021, the next group of seniors, residents who are aged 65-years-old and older (Phase 1-B, Group 5), became eligible to call and schedule an appointment with their local health care provider or local pharmacy listed on our vaccinators list that has signed up to be a COVID vaccinator in Douglas County. As a reminder, we ask that you please be patient and gracious with the staff at DPHN, our vaccinators and health care partners, as they are doing the best they can to schedule appointments based on the supply of COVID-19 vaccine that has been sent to Douglas County. I am Eligible, How Do I Sign Up to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Our local public health continue to follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) eligibility guidelines, and are ONLY scheduling appointments for residents that are listed on OHA’s list of currently eligible groups at this time. Douglas County, DPHN or your Doctor’s Office did not set the guidelines for who is eligible to get the vaccine. For more information, on how the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) set up their COVID vaccine guidelines, please contact them directly. As a reminder, eligibility dates and vaccine availability are always subject to change, and eligibility does not mean availability. Please, if you are not in an eligible vaccine group right now, we ask that you continue to be patient, and wait to call, email or try to set up an appointment until after your age or eligibility group becomes eligible. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR PHASE 1-A, GROUPS 1-4 For those residents who are a part of Phase 1-A, but have not received their COVID-19 vaccine, please send an e-mail to and DPHN will connect you with a local vaccine provider. Please only send a request to get a vaccine to this email if you are Phase 1-A eligible. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR PHASE 1-B, GROUP 1 For those residents in Phase 1-B, Group 1: Educators, childcare and early education workers, you should have already received emails about your eligibility from DPHN or Douglas ESD. If you are in that group and still want a vaccine, please send an email to If you did not receive an e-mail, please contact your employer. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR PHASE 1-B, GROUPS 2-5: SENIORS 65 AND OLDER As of Monday, March 1, 2021, residents 65-years-of-age and older became eligible to schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible seniors are asked to call and set up an appointment with their health care provider or local pharmacy listed on our vaccinators list. Click here to read the most recent update to the Douglas County Senior Population Vaccination Plan, with our current list of local vaccinators. Our plan for Senior COVID-19 Vaccinations in Douglas County is to have eligible seniors get their COVID vaccine where they get their regular health care or flu vaccine. As a reminder, because the COVID vaccines have very specific handling constraints, all providers offering to vaccinate eligible residents will be administering vaccines with a scheduled appointment only. Doctor’s offices, medical facilities, Urgent Care Clinics and Pharmacy’s will not and cannot do walk-in appointments. We ask that eligible seniors contact their health care provider FIRST, to see if they are administering the COVID vaccine. If not, we encourage you to ask them to get signed up to be a vaccinator. Also, if they are not vaccinating, ask them for a referral to another health care provider, clinic or pharmacy, that is administering the vaccine. If they do not provide referrals, then please contact your regular pharmacy or a pharmacy listed on our vaccinators list and ask them about scheduling an appointment. Please also note that many of our health care providers listed on our vaccinators list are currently working through their eligible patient lists first. So, they may not be scheduling appointments for new, referral or outside patients at this time. There are still many more residents and seniors who need and want the vaccine than there are available doses. Vaccine supply is beyond our control, but we continue to submit requests and strive to get as much vaccine sent to Douglas County as possible. Even though a medical facility or office is listed as a vaccinator, does not guarantee they will have vaccine; they are organizations that have signed up to help vaccinate. We ask for your patience as we work with the State and OHA to acquire more vaccines. LOCAL TRIBAL HEALTH VACCINE PROGRAMS If you are a member of the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians, please contact them for information on their COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs at (541) 672-9405 or log onto: Tribal Health Care Programs receive their vaccines directly from the Federal Government, and not through our local public health allocation from the State. VA WORKERS AND ELIGIBLE U.S. MILITARY VETERANS The Roseburg VA Health Care System is setting up appointments for specific groups of veteran patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To qualify for the current round of COVID-19 vaccinations at the Roseburg VAMC, veterans must be 75 or older, or be homeless, or be a frontline essential worker, hemodialysis or organ transplant patient, or a chemotherapy patient receiving care at a clinic or hospital. Also, note that according to the vaccine criteria established by the Federal Government and the CDC, at this time, spouses of veterans are not included on the list of eligible persons to get a COVID-19 vaccine from the Roseburg VAMC. However, there is one exception noted, a Veteran’s Care Provider, who is being paid by the VA under the new Family Caregiver Assistance program might be eligible. Anyone interested in applying for that program or to find out about veteran vaccine eligibility needs to contact Roseburg VAMC directly. The Douglas County Veterans Service Office at the county does not have the authority or ability to get vaccines for veterans or their spouses. VA Health Care Systems receive their vaccine directly from the Federal Government and not through our local public health allocation from the State. For more information, call the Roseburg VAMC at (541) 440-1000 or log onto: WHAT IF I AM NOT ON THE OHA ELIGIBLE LIST RIGHT NOW? As we have mentioned before, if you are not specifically listed on one of OHA’s published eligible vaccine groups, then you are not eligible to get or sign up for the vaccine yet. We ask that you please be patient and wait until you are eligible to contact your doctor, health care provider, DPHN, Douglas County, local hospitals and our hotline. Again, just because you will be in an upcoming eligibility group does not mean we have vaccines available for you, or that we know when we might receive vaccines for your group. Douglas County UPDATE: COVID-19 Vaccine Availability and Allocation Information Your Local Public Health Administrator and Douglas County Public Health Official, along with DPHN and our local health care partners have been working hard to acquire more vaccines and vaccinate those that want the vaccine, that are eligible. We are scheduled to receive at least 2,500 first dose vaccines each week moving forward. All of our shipment of first doses have been deployed to local approved vaccinators throughout the county. As we mentioned before, we are finally seeing a fair and equitable allotment of COVID vaccines from the State of Oregon and we are hopeful that the distribution levels will continue. We would like to note that the recent changes to the vaccine allocation for Douglas County from the State were a direct result of the tenacious efforts by our Douglas County Commissioners and Dr. Dannenhoffer in advocating for our fair share of COVID-19 vaccines. It is also important to understand that in addition to the first dose vaccines that we receive from the State of Oregon on a weekly basis, we also receive our allocation of second dose vaccines, which are paired with the first doses, and are not counted in the overall total vaccines that we have received. Please note that our cumulative vaccine numbers do NOT include other vaccination sites like the Roseburg VA, Mercy Medical Center, EMS, Cow Creek Tribe, Pharmacies and local care facilities that have received their vaccines directly from the Federal and State Government or their partners. How Do I Get My Second Dose of the COVID Vaccine? For those residents who have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, here are a few answers to questions about your second and final dose. • At the present moment, we are told that those who get vaccinated can expect a second dose about 4-6 weeks after the first dose. Currently, the State/OHA and the Federal Government are considerably behind on sending the second dose of the vaccine out. • You should have received a vaccination card when you received your first dose that details the brand of vaccine, its lot number, and the date the vaccine was given. This card is for your records only, and is not official proof that you have received the vaccine. Proof of your vaccination rests with the State Alert System, which is accessible by medical facilities. • You should get your second dose from the same provider or organization from which you received your first. However, the physical address where you receive the second dose may change. • You will be notified by the provider or organization that gave you your first dose about where and when you’ll receive your second dose. • I got a first vaccine out of the area, can I get my second vaccine in Douglas County? The second vaccine dose is “paired” to the first dose, and your second dose will be sent to wherever you got your first dose. So, except in rare circumstances, you will need to return to where you got your first dose. • If you have questions, please contact the provider or organization where you received your first dose. Please Continue to Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe While we are not able to say for sure when we will receive more vaccines, or when State guidelines might change or when we can start to resume some sort of normality in our lives, but, we can continue encourage everyone, for the sake of our local businesses, services and residents, to gauge your risk level, and to please make the best choice in order protect yourself and those around you from contracting or spreading coronavirus. We have provided education on the widely proven COVID-19 safety measures, and encourage you to limit your contact with others not from your household, stay home if you are sick, and wear face coverings where recommended. Click here, for a graphic on how to protect you and your family from the spread of COVID-19. We know how important family, businesses and faith are to you, so we ask that you consider all options available in order to eliminate and minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our communities to help protect the ones you love, the businesses you love and the places you love to go. Local COVID-19 Testing and Facebook Live Douglas County COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Clinics Due to widely available COVID-19 testing opportunities in Douglas County, your local public health authority and DPHN have decided to step-back our drive-through testing clinics to one day a week for the time being. If needs increase, we are prepared to increase testing to 2-3 times a week again. As we have reported before, we were one of the first counties in the state to do a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic, and we have done 2-3 clinics a week since March 2020 in Roseburg, as well as drive-through testing clinics in Reedsport. DPHN has also been part of increasing the availability and types of testing at multiple sites and locations across the county, also leading the state in rapid testing availability. The next drive-through testing clinic will be Friday, March 5, 2021, in Roseburg. As a reminder, if you are having symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains, diarrhea, sore throat or decreased sense of smell and taste, talk to your health care provider about being tested for COVID-19. Patients without a Primary Care Provider that are looking for a COVID-19 test can contact the Sutherlin Aviva Health Clinic at (541) 459-3788. Facebook Live with Dr. Bob Join us Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6:00 pm for the next Facebook Live with Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer, the Douglas County Public Health Officer. The show is hosted by DPHN on the DPHN Facebook page. Please submit your questions during the live show or you can email questions to: Dr. Bob and the DPHN team will do their best to respond to as many questions as they can during the live shows. State and Federal COVID-19 Info Again, it is important to note that we are not the ones setting the guidelines for vaccine eligibility or availability. We are following the current priority group guidelines and criteria set by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Go online or contact the CDC or OHA directly for more information. OHA posts it’s COVID updates and reports at Please do not call 911, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office or Douglas County Offices to report compliance issues with the State of Oregon, OHA or Governor’s orders. The Governor has directed the State offices for Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to be the enforcement agencies responsible for ensuring restaurants, bars, and other businesses comply with the current State COVID guidelines. If you have concerns, questions or wish to report compliance issues contact these state agencies directly: OSHA: (800) 922-2689 or OSHA website or OLCC (503) 872-5000 or OLCC website. Local COVID-19 Resources Your Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Douglas County Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer, DPHN and the DCCRT have been working hard to cooperatively provide accurate and timely information to Douglas County residents since March 8, 2020. Local Online Access to Updates Stay up to date with accurate and local COVID-19 information in Douglas County on the Douglas County Government website or DCGOV Facebook page or the DPHN website or DPHN Facebook page. Free Local e-Newsletter Subscription You can also sign up for the Douglas County e-Newsletter that publishes and sends out the daily update to our subscription base for free. You can sign up for the Douglas County e-Newsletter at Your Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Douglas County Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer, DPHN and the DCCRT have been working hard to cooperatively provide accurate and timely information to Douglas County residents since March 8, 2020. Douglas County COVID-19 Hotline (541) 464-6550 Your Douglas County Board of Commissioners and DPHN continue to offer a local resource hotline for Douglas County residents for COVID-19. The hotline provides answer to frequently asked questions, basic information and referrals to resources and services. The Hotline is staffed from 8:00 am to 5: pm, 7 days a week. Check Out DPHN’s Top Three COVID Vaccine Questions of the Day In response to the huge increase in calls and emails that Douglas Public Health Network (DPHN), the DCCRT, Douglas County and our local COVID Hotline have received in the last few weeks regarding COVID vaccinations, DPHN added a new segment to their website that will highlight answers to the Top Three COVID Vaccine Questions of the Day. Click here to link to the DPHN website. Aviva Health Vaccine FAQ’s Aviva Health has created an online FAQ page to answer questions related to COVID-19 regarding availability and scheduling. Log onto COVID Vaccine Update from Lower Umpqua Hospital District Lower Umpqua Hospital District now has a COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center for COVID-19 vaccine information in the Reedsport, Douglas County Coastal area. The LUHD COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center number is (541) 271-2175, and is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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