Case numbers up as Brown warns of risk level hike

Benny Westcott

Gov. Kate Brown, in a press conference Friday, April 23, warned that Oregon is in a “fourth wave” of COVID-19.

The state now ranks second in the nation in having the most rapid growth of COVID-19 infection spread, Brown said.

“A few weeks ago I came before you to say that we were concerned we would have a fourth surge of COVID-19 in Oregon,” Brown said in her Friday press conference. “Unfortunately, today that surge is here.”

The governor warned that “our hospitals are about to surpass 300 patients who are positive for COVID-19, crossing the threshold to place several of our counties into Extreme Risk.”

“Unfortunately, that means at least 12 counties are on the verge of having to reinstate restrictions on businesses like restaurants, bars, and gyms, and to limit social gatherings to very small groups again,” she said.

Brown said the state analyzed data early this week to see which counties may need to roll back into Extreme Risk.

“If the data indicates it’s necessary in light of this crisis, I am cancelling the warning week and those counties will move into extreme risk starting next Friday, April 30.

“Please know this is not a step I take lightly. However, it could be the last time we need to impose this level of restrictions, given our vaccination trends and the virus’ behavior.”

Linn County has seen a steady climb in reported COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

In the two-week period from April 13 to April 26, 334 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Linn County, up from 223 new cases reported in the previous two-week period from March 30 to April 12.

In addition, three COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in Linn County during the most recent two-week period.

Linn County Public Health Director Todd Noble acknowledged an upswing in numbers, but said the most effective way to get past COVID is vaccinations.

“Like most communities in Oregon, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 positive cases,” Noble said. “Vaccination is the pathway to put this pandemic in the rear view mirror. We still have a ways to go to reach herd immunity, so I encourage anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to join us next week at the Linn County Fairgrounds to be vaccinated.”

Linn County Public Health has received a record 8,336 COVID-19 vaccine doses, so three vaccination clinics will be held in the coming week at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Road.

Clinics will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

As of Friday, about 33% of Linn County residents have received at least one vaccination, Noble said.

He noted that although all Oregonians age 16 and older are eligible for vaccinations, they must be at least 18 years old to receive the Moderna vaccine.

The Wednesday clinic will feature 1,170 first doses and 1,066 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Register online at[email protected]/bookings/s/jNTTypy3u06lt5UR8h5thw2.

Thursday’s clinic will feature 3,100 first doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Register online at[email protected]/bookings/s/nTpE8D-vj06SqQFJHRIHOQ2.

On Friday, Samaritan Health Services reported it was caring for 19 COVID-19 patients in its five hospitals in Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Lincoln City and Newport – “the highest number of coronavirus inpatients in our facilities since mid-January, with the most patients between the ages of 40 and 59 since November 2020,” Samaritan said in a statement.

“Though the numbers of new cases had decreased in an encouraging way, for the last four days, Oregon has seen 1,000 or more new coronavirus cases per day,” said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Adam Brady of the Samaritan Coronavirus Task Force. “This underscores the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible as soon as possible.”

Noble said scheduling an appointment for the county clinic is simple and straightforward at

Anyone who cannot access the Internet may also register by calling (855) 441-2311.

All Oregonians 16 years of age and older are now eligible to receive a vaccination.

Homebound Linn County residents may also be served through the county’s mobile vaccination clinic by calling the Linn County Public Health office at (541) 967-3888.

To schedule an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination through Samaritan: Visit for scheduling links for county vaccination events when appointments are available.

If no appointments are available, you are encouraged to check back often, as appointments are added regularly when supply is available.

For anyone without internet access through a computer or smartphone, the Samaritan COVID-19 vaccine scheduling hotline is available at (855) 441-2311.

Vaccines are also available at local pharmacies.

To find pharmacies with appointments, visit and

For more information about Samaritan Health Services’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

More and more Oregonians are getting vaccinated. As of Friday, the OHA reported that half of adult Oregonians have received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Just over a quarter – 26% – of Oregonians were reported to be fully vaccinated.

Three in four Oregon seniors had been vaccinated.

Brown stressed the importance of more Oregonians getting vaccinated at the press conference.

“Vaccines are absolutely key to moving Oregon forward,” she said. “The overwhelming majority of our new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are people who have not yet been vaccinated. We are seeing younger Oregonians in the hospital now, as well as people who had no underlying health conditions.”

In a hopeful note, Brown spoke of a “hill on the horizon,” and said “we can climb it together.”

“I do think, with all of us working together, that we can get to a place where we lift most restrictions and fully reopen our economy no later than the end of June,” she said.

She added that “We all need to make smart choices over the next several weeks so we can move forward and into post-pandemic life.”

For information on when and where to obtain COVID-19 vaccines in Linn County, visit