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Coronavirus in Oregon: Judge orders inmates be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines; 23 new deaths reported stat – OregonLive

A judge on Tuesday ordered all inmates in the Oregon prison system to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations — a move that should make prisoners immediately eligible for inoculation.

The preliminary injunction orders all Oregon Department of Corrections inmates be offered a vaccine as part of phase 1A, group 2, of Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination plan — putting prison inmates in the same category as people living in nursing homes and other congregate care settings.

The order should make prisoners eligible for vaccines now, but it’s not clear if they’ll move ahead of teachers or the elderly. But given that the Oregon Health Authority dictates where vaccines are shipped, the state has the ability to redirect doses for prisons.

“This will save an incredible amount of lives,” said Juan Chavez, an Oregon Justice Resource Center attorney who is representing a group of seven inmates.

The order will allow adults in custody to “stand in the same line” as others in congregate living facilities with a high risk of COVID-19 infection, Chavez said.

“As far as jumping the line ahead of anybody, they should’ve been vaccinated already,” he said.

The decision comes after seven inmates at Oregon correctional facilities filed motions Jan. 21 for the federal government to intervene and immediately compel the state to vaccinate all prison inmates against COVID-19. The same inmates first filed a class action lawsuit in federal court last April seeking protection against the spread of COVID-19.

Inmates across the state have described horrid conditions in the state’s correctional facilities as 3,392 cases of COVID-19 and 42 deaths have been confirmed in prisons to date.

In her ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman noted state officials had prioritized residents of other types of congregate care settings, such as nursing homes, but bypassed inmates, despite widespread COVID-19 outbreaks in the state’s prisons.

The decision to exclude the state’s prison population from high-tier priority lists demonstrated “deliberate indifference to the serious risk of harm” prisoners face from COVID-19, the judge concluded.

Beckerman was unswayed by the state’s argument that the public interest called for teachers to be vaccinated first, so children could return to school. The judge pointed out the prisoners’ attorneys weren’t asking for inmates to be vaccinated first, just that they be vaccinated at the same time as teachers.

Chavez pointed out that Oregon’s current rate of vaccination is about 12,000 a day — roughly the same size of the state prison population. Any diversion of vaccines would be equivalent to a day’s worth of vaccines administered, compared to the previous plan, which put prisoners behind 900,000 others, he said.

To date, the state has used 65% of its vaccine allotment, according to Oregon Health Authority numbers.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY JAIL VACCINATIONS

The first vaccinations of Multnomah County Jail inmates began Tuesday, as the county administered vaccines to 108 adults at the Inverness Jail. More inmates will be vaccinated once more doses are available, according to Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, a county spokeswoman.

Sullivan-Springhetti said the county has always planned to treat jails as part of the high-risk congregate settings category for vaccinations.

These vaccinations began as two more outbreaks have been reported in Multnomah County and Josephine County jails in recent days.

There have been 107 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths during the Inverness Jail’s current outbreak, which began Jan. 15, Sullivan-Springhetti said. That’s equivalent to 21% of the current population of 512 inmates.

An ongoing outbreak at the Multnomah County Detention Center also has affected 26 staff and 10 inmates since October.

To prevent further spread at the Inverness Jail, at least two dormitories have been placed in isolation and three others on quarantine, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

All inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 have been moved into an isolation dorm for about two weeks. Those who have been exposed to the coronavirus but tested negative are in quarantine for the same amount of time.

Those in quarantine are being tested every few days and anyone with symptoms is offered COVID-19 testing, Sullivan-Springhetti said.

The outbreak has caused delays in court hearings for those in the affected dorms, according to Multnomah Public Defender Michael Rees.

A release hearing for one of his clients was abruptly canceled last week, Rees said, and a remote hearing via video was not rescheduled until Tuesday morning. Rees said he was told the hearing was canceled because his client was in a locked down dorm.

“I think the jail should’ve started taking this seriously ages ago,” Rees said. “People sitting in there are at risk of serious illness and death.”

The Inverness Jail is at about 77% capacity, according to the most recent figures from Sullivan-Springhetti. The county reduced its jail population by 30% near the start of the pandemic due to fewer arrests, early releases of sentenced inmates and stepped-up pretrial releases.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office reported 30 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 using rapid testing since Jan. 26. All inmates and staff will be tested again Feb. 8 to verify the results using PCR testing, which uses genetic material.

The OHA, meanwhile, reported 619 new confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases and 23 more deaths Tuesday.

Here are today’s coronavirus numbers:

Where the new cases are by county: Baker (2), Benton (16), Clackamas (59), Clatsop (8), Columbia (2), Coos (10), Crook (3), Curry (2), Deschutes (18), Douglas (15), Harney (3), Hood River (7), Jackson (54), Jefferson (5), Josephine (23), Klamath (18), Lake (3), Lane (32), Lincoln (5), Linn (10), Malheur (5), Marion (42), Morrow (1), Multnomah (135), Polk (21), Sherman (3), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (25), Union (9), Wallowa (3), Wasco (4), Washington (64) and Yamhill (10).

Deaths:

The 1,905th death is a 72-year-old Clackamas County man who tested positive Jan. 12 and died Jan. 23 at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center.

The 1,906th death is a 90-year-old Clackamas County woman who tested positive Jan. 3 and died Jan. 16 at her residence.

The 1,907th death is an 88-year-old Clackamas County woman who tested positive Dec. 29 and died Jan. 24 at her residence.

The 1,908th death is a 90-year-old Deschutes County woman who tested positive Jan. 22 and died Jan. 26 at her residence.

The 1,909th death is an 82-year-old Deschutes County woman who tested positive Jan. 4 and died Jan. 19 at her residence.

The 1,910th death is a 79-year-old Deschutes County woman who tested positive Jan. 8 and died Jan. 19 at St. Charles Bend Hospital.

The 1,911th death is a 68-year-old Deschutes County woman who tested positive Jan. 4 and died Jan. 5 at her residence.

The 1,912th death is a 70-year-old Douglas County man who tested positive Jan. 6 and died Jan. 26 at Mercy Medical Center.

The 1,913th death is an 81-year-old Hood River County woman who tested positive Jan. 12 and died Jan. 27 at her residence.

The 1,914th death is a 93-year-old Jackson County woman who tested positive Jan. 28 and died Jan. 29 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

The 1,915th death is an 86-year-old Jackson County woman who tested positive Dec. 24 and died Jan. 1 at her residence.

The 1,916th death is a 91-year-old Jackson County man who tested positive Dec. 27 and died Jan. 17 at his residence.

The 1,917th death is an 88-year-old Columbia County man who became symptomatic Dec. 26 after contact with a confirmed case and died Jan. 25 at his residence.

The 1,918th death is an 81-year-old Jackson County man who tested positive Jan. 23 and died Jan. 29 at his residence.

The 1,919th death is an 83-year-old Klamath County woman who tested positive Jan. 20 and died Jan. 28 at her residence.

The 1,920th death is an 89-year-old Klamath County woman who tested positive Jan. 20 and died Jan. 26 at Sky Lakes Medical Center.

The 1,921st death is a 74-year-old Klamath County man who tested positive Jan. 11 and died Jan. 23 at his residence.

The 1,922nd death is an 86-year-old Klamath County woman who tested positive Jan. 4 and died Jan. 21 at her residence.

The 1,923rd death is an 87-year-old Lake County woman who tested positive Jan. 27 and died Jan. 29 at Lake District Hospital.

The 1,924th death is a 71-year-old Lincoln County woman who tested positive Jan. 9 and died Jan. 27 at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.

The 1,925th death is an 85-year-old Malheur County woman who tested positive Jan. 13 and died Jan. 26 at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.

The 1,926th death is a 75-year-old Marion County man who tested positive Jan. 16 and died Jan. 28 at Salem Hospital.

The 1,927th death is a 43-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive Dec. 31 and died Jan. 25 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

The 1,928th death is a 69-year-old Marion County man who tested positive Dec. 31 and died Jan. 26 at Salem Hospital.

The 1,929th death is a 64-year-old Marion County woman who tested positive Dec. 26 and died Jan. 28 at Salem Hospital.

The 1,930th death is a 76-year-old Marion County woman who tested positive Dec. 21 and died Jan. 26 at Salem Hospital.

The 1,931st death is an 88-year-old Marion County man who tested positive Nov. 19 and died Dec. 12 at his residence.

The 1,932nd death is an 84-year-old Marion County woman who tested positive Nov. 8 and died Nov. 29 at her residence.

The 1,933rd death is a 90-year-old Marion County man who tested positive Jan. 26 and died Jan. 29 at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center.

The 1,934th death is an 86-year-old Marion County man who tested positive Jan. 17 and died Jan. 26 at his residence.

The 1,935th death is an 82-year-old Morrow County man who tested positive Jan. 5 and died Jan. 24 at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center in Idaho. He had no underlying conditions.

The 1,936th death is a 72-year-old Washington County man who died Jan. 5 at Portland VA Medical Center. His death certificate listed disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

The 1,937th death is a 67-year-old Washington County woman who tested positive Dec. 13 and died Jan. 1 at her residence.

The 1,938th death is a 53-year-old Washington County man who died Dec. 6 at his residence. His death certificate listed disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

The 1,939th death is a 97-year-old Washington County woman who tested positive Dec. 9 and died Jan. 17 at her residence.

The 1,940th death is a 74-year-old Washington County man who died Jan. 5 at his residence. His death certificate listed disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

The 1,941st death is an 84-year-old Union County woman who tested positive Jan. 20 and died Jan. 29 at Grande Ronde Hospital.

The 1,942nd death is a 79-year-old Polk County man who tested positive Jan. 13 and died Jan. 25 at Salem Hospital.

The 1,943rd death is a 69-year-old Multnomah County man who tested positive Jan. 5 and died Jan. 23 at Oregon Health & Science University.

The 1,944th death is a 53-year-old Multnomah County woman who tested positive Dec. 26 and died Jan. 6 at Adventist Hospital.

The 1,945th death is a 59-year-old woman in Multnomah County who tested positive Dec. 8 and died Jan. 8 at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center.

The 1,946th death is a 75-year-old Multnomah County man who tested positive Dec. 3 and died Jan. 4 at his residence.

The 1,947th death is a 78-year-old Multnomah County man who tested positive Nov. 30 and died Dec. 14 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

The 1,948th death is an 85-year-old Multnomah County woman who tested positive Nov. 23 and died Nov. 28 at her residence.

The 1,949th death is a 93-year-old Multnomah County woman who tested positive Nov. 11 and died Nov. 21 at her residence.

The 1,950th death is a 93-year-old Multnomah County woman who died Dec. 6 at her residence. Her death certificate listed disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

The 1,951st death is a 95-year-old Washington County woman who tested positive Jan. 4 and died Jan. 28 at her residence. She had no underlying conditions.

The 1,952nd death is a 73-year-old Washington County woman who tested positive Jan. 11 and died Jan. 18 at OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center.

The 1,953rd death is a 95-year-old Washington County woman who died Jan. 22 at her residence. Her death certificate listed disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

The 1,954th death is a 67-year-old Yamhill County woman who tested positive Jan. 8 and died Jan. 26 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

The 1,955th death is a 66-year-old Yamhill County man who tested positive Jan. 12 and died Jan. 22 at his residence.

The 1,956th death is a 98-year-old Yamhill County woman who tested positive Jan. 19 and died Jan. 22 at her residence.

The 1,957th death is an 85-year-old Yamhill County woman who tested positive Jan. 21 and died Jan. 22 at her residence.

The 1,958th death is an 81-year-old Crook County man who tested positive Jan. 1 and died Jan. 23 at St. Charles Bend Hospital.

Unless noted above, each person who died 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 699 new positive tests out of 16,540 tests performed, equaling a 4.2% positivity rate.

Who got infected: New confirmed or presumed infections grew among the following age groups: 0-9 (37); 10-19 (67); 20-29 (101); 30-39 (109); 40-49 (93); 50-59 (76); 60-69 (62); 70-79 (43); 80 and older (20).

Who’s in the hospital: The state reported 262 Oregonians with confirmed coronavirus infections in the hospital Tuesday, nine fewer than Monday. Of those, 61 coronavirus patients were in intensive care units, three fewer than Monday.

Vaccines: Oregon reported 454,246 doses of vaccine have been administered, or about 65% of the doses received. Oregon reported 15,967 newly administered doses, which includes 10,712 on Monday and the remainder from previous days.

Since it began: Oregon has reported 143,978 confirmed or presumed infections and 1,981 deaths, among the lowest per capita numbers in the nation. To date, the state has reported 3,218,747 lab reports from tests.

— Jaimie Ding

[email protected]; 503-221-4395; @j_dingdingding

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