The Oregon Health Authority on Monday reported 728 new coronavirus cases and six more deaths as Gov. Kate Brown defended the state’s slow pace of vaccinations while simultaneously calling for improvements.

Brown’s comments came after the state recorded its deadliest month, with at least 436 deaths among Oregonians with COVID-19 in December.

State officials have now received nearly 200,000 vaccine doses but have administered only about a quarter, a rate that placed Oregon among the slowest performing states nationwide.

Brown on Monday defended Oregon’s progress, picking a more charitable metric to show that the state’s per capita vaccination rate is “about the same number of vaccinations as other states.”

But she acknowledged Oregon, like most of the country, “is not moving fast enough.” She called for quicker vaccinations, setting a benchmark of 12,000 shots per day by Jan. 17.

“All states are grappling with the same logistical challenges, and while we are making steady progress, we must move even more quickly when every vaccination has the potential to save someone’s life,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown said she directed the Oregon Health Authority to achieve the benchmark by working with health care providers, pharmacies and local public health officials to streamline distribution. The vaccine is currently only available to health care workers and residents and workers at long-term care facilities.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck effort,” she said, “and I have directed OHA to partner as widely as possible to ensure we are using all available resources to ramp up Oregon’s vaccinations rapidly.”

Officials for the Oregon Health Authority last week defended the state’s progress, saying the “roll-out is going well.”

This weekend, a spokesman for the agency did not answer questions about the pace of the rollout and suggested The Oregonian/OregonLive contact hospitals to learn about any administrative and logistical challenges they may be facing administering the vaccine.

Where the new cases are by county: Baker (10), Clackamas (67), Clatsop (2), Columbia (10), Coos (20), Curry (2), Deschutes (45), Douglas (14), Harney (2), Jackson (40), Jefferson (6), Josephine (16), Klamath (31), Lake (1), Lane (62), Lincoln (4), Linn (10), Marion (79), Morrow (4), Multnomah (92), Polk (16), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (24), Union (4), Wasco (2), Washington (141) Yamhill (22).

Deaths: Oregon’s 1,501st death linked to coronavirus is an 83-year-old Lane County woman. She tested positive Dec. 23 and died Jan. 1 at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend.

The 1,502nd fatality is a 92-year-old Linn County woman who tested positive Dec. 18 and died Dec. 18 at Salem Hospital.

Oregon’s 1,503rd death is a 90-year-old Multnomah County woman who tested positive Dec. 22 and died Dec. 22 at Adventist Health Portland.

The 1,504th fatality is a 47-year-old Washington County man who tested positive Dec. 18 and died Jan. 3 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. That matches information provided by the Oregon Department of Corrections, which announced a Columbia River Correctional Institution male inmate between the ages of 45 and 55 died Jan. 3 at a hospital.

Oregon’s 1,505th death is an 81-year-old Washington County woman who tested positive Dec. 18 and died Jan. 2 and Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center.

The 1,506th fatality is a 92-year-old Coos County woman who tested positive Dec. 24 and died Jan. 1 at her residence.

Each person had underlying health conditions or state officials were working to determine if the person had underlying medical conditions.

The prevalence of infections: The state reported 765 new positive tests out of 9,520 tests performed, equaling an 8% positivity rate.

Who got infected: State officials hadn’t provided detailed age breakdowns since Thursday. Since then, new confirmed or presumed infections since grew among the following age groups: 0-9 (186); 10-19 (467); 20-29 (1,007); 30-39 (778); 40-49 (714); 50-59 (585); 60-69 (385); 70-79 (241); 80 and older (185).

Who’s in the hospital: The state reported 477 Oregonians with confirmed coronavirus infections were in the hospital Monday, six less than Sunday. Of those, 102 were in intensive care units, seven less than Sunday.

Vaccines administered: Oregon has administered 51,275 doses out of 190,500 received, or 27% of its supply. Nine of those doses were second shots, completing the full inoculation schedule.

Since it began: Oregon has reported 118,453 confirmed or presumed infections and 1,506 deaths, among the lowest totals in the nation. To date, the state has reported 2,722,777 lab reports from tests.

This post has been updated to reflect corrected numbers by the Oregon Health Authority, which reduced the total case count by three.

— Brad Schmidt; bschmidt@oregonian.com; 503-294-7628; @_brad_schmidt



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