A Masked & Vaxxed Summer
The passage of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will trigger more resources to help Oregonians build our state back from this pandemic better than ever. But with new masking requirements in the state and reports that Oregon hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, it’s clear that deadly and contagious variant strains of COVID-19 will be with us for the long haul and that we must fight tooth and nail to preserve hospital capacity.
The past 18 months have been exhausting for everybody. But our health care workers continue to put in overtime for weeks on end. I heard powerful and eloquent accounts last week from health care workers at St. Charles in Bend and Asante Health in Medford about their incredible life-and-death work to help Oregonians continue each day to weather this pandemic. One nurse in Medford was moved to tears as she recounted the growing number of patients they have in beds lining the hallways of a crowded COVID ward.
These health care heroes have been asked to do more with less at almost every turn. There have been no breaks for them. And I could feel their palpable frustration and outrage with how our nation’s health has become so politicized. The denial of science and outright fear-mongering over vaccine efficacy only makes doing their jobs more difficult.
I am glad FEMA is responding to my call to help Oregon hospitals with 24 paramedics to support hospitals in Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, and Deschutes counties battling 24-7 to weather this latest COVID wave. I will keep pressing the levers of the federal government to get our state’s hospitals what they need to care for Oregonians, including PPE, staff support, and vaccine booster shots.
But in the meantime, I strongly encourage everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated if you can, and get a booster shot when it is recommended that you do so. And please mask up when you’re out in public.
Vax and mask for the doctors, nurses, and health care staff who have been working night and day for the past year and a half to keep COVID-19 from devastating our communities. Their work continues. They need our support now more than ever.