Oregon has recorded 5,017 COVID-19 related deaths as of Monday, Nov. 22, since the pandemic began.
Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen issued the following statement following the report marking Oregon’s tragic losses:
"Today Oregon marks more than 5,000 lives lost to COVID-19. As we head into the second Thanksgiving holiday since the start of the pandemic, too many Oregon families will see empty chairs around their holiday dinner tables, making this latest tragic milestone all the more heartbreaking.
We’ve lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Coworkers and neighbors. Bridge partners and fishing buddies. Teachers, grocery workers and first responders. Each death leaves a hole in someone’s home and someone’s heart that will never be filled again.
These losses are especially painful because nearly all our most recent deaths could have been prevented by COVID-19 vaccines, which remain the best protection against serious illness and death.
As we gather for the coming holidays, look around your table. Consider the family and friends in your life. Let’s make sure the loved ones you care about and count on are there to share next Thanksgiving with you. And all the important celebrations in your life.
The Delta variant remains a danger to people who aren’t vaccinated or need a booster. Hospitals remain full of people who are unvaccinated and gravely ill with COVID-19.
But you have the power to protect yourself and the people around you. This holiday, you’re at less risk if you’re vaccinated and if you get a booster when the time is right. Smaller gatherings are less risky than large gatherings, especially indoors. Take care around older adults. Think hard about wearing a mask if you’re indoors with people who aren’t vaccinated, especially older people.
Vaccinate children who are 5 and older to protect them and keep them in school. And remember, if you’re just now choosing to be vaccinated, you won’t be fully protected by Thanksgiving, so please wear a mask if you are spending time with others.
Since the start of the pandemic, Oregonians have come together so many times to protect each other. More than eight in 10 adults are vaccinated. And Oregonians wear masks in public more frequently than people in most other states. You’re vaccinating younger children at higher rates than the national average. Thank you for taking action to stop COVID-19 from spreading. Together, we can save more lives and keep the virus from claiming more people of all ages."
Vaccinated people are eligible for a booster six months after they completed their initial series if they received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months after they received their Johnson & Johnson vaccine.