COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus; CDC graphic)

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mitigate.

United States

On Wednes­day, Novem­ber 29th, and Thurs­day, Novem­ber 30th, fed­er­al judges in the West­ern Dis­trict of Louisiana and East­ern Dis­trict of Mis­souri halt­ed the Biden administration’s vac­cine man­date for health care work­ers across mul­ti­ple states.

While over 96% of fed­er­al employ­ees and over­whelm­ing num­bers of mil­i­tary per­son­nel have met the require­ments of the man­date, it is very like­ly this and relat­ed fed­er­al vac­cine and test­ing man­dates will be decid­ed by the fed­er­al Supreme Court some­time ear­ly next year.

As of Wednes­day, Decem­ber 1st, with­in the Unit­ed States, approx­i­mate­ly 14% of all chil­dren between the ages of five and eleven, or just under four mil­lion chil­dren, have been vac­ci­nat­ed against COVID-19.

Kaiser-spon­sored polls that field­ed in late Octo­ber and mid-Novem­ber indi­cate vac­cine hes­i­tan­cy among fam­i­lies with chil­dren is sig­nif­i­cant, with a large por­tion con­cerned about the vac­cine ver­sus their child’s future fer­til­i­ty, and fam­i­lies liv­ing in pover­ty will present a unique chal­lenge to accom­plish­ing the task.

All that said, high demand and the inabil­i­ty to pro­vide in a time­ly man­ner vac­ci­na­tion boost­ers for adults, often due to declin­ing num­bers of phar­ma­cy employ­ees, has sig­nif­i­cant­ly squeezed access.

On Thurs­day, Decem­ber 2nd, the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion unveiled a detailed nine-point plan for com­bat­ing the new Omi­cron vari­ant of the Covid-19 virus.

The plan includes the fol­low­ing strategies:

  • Boost­ers for All Adults
  • Vac­ci­na­tions to Pro­tect Our Kids and Keep Our Schools Open
  • Expand­ing Free At-Home Test­ing for Americans
  • Stronger Pub­lic Health Pro­to­cols for Safe Inter­na­tion­al Travel
  • Pro­tec­tions in Work­places to Keep Our Econ­o­my Open
  • Rapid Response Teams to Help Bat­tle Ris­ing Cases
  • Sup­ply­ing Treat­ment Pills to Help Pre­vent Hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and Death
  • Con­tin­ued Com­mit­ment to Glob­al Vac­ci­na­tion Efforts
  • Steps to Ensure We Are Pre­pared for All Scenarios

One hopes that these plans will include more effec­tive­ly assist­ing nations lack­ing robust pub­lic health sys­tems to absorb and admin­is­ter donat­ed vac­cines — what experts call “vac­ci­na­tion readi­ness” — to min­i­mize future muta­tions from abroad.

On Wednes­day, Decem­ber 3rd, an advi­so­ry pan­el to the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion rec­om­mend­ed the autho­riza­tion of mol­nupi­ravir, an antivi­ral pill devel­oped by Mer­ck, to imme­di­ate­ly treat patients infect­ed by COVID-19.

The rec­om­men­da­tion fol­lows new data show­ing that mol­nupi­ravir reduced hos­pi­tal­iza­tion or death only by 30%, down from an ini­tial­ly report­ed 50%.


On Wednes­day, Decem­ber 1st, Franklin Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Clint Didi­er, in response to queries from Wash­ing­ton state Labor & Indus­tries regard­ing com­plaints of fail­ing to meet mask com­pli­ance at coun­ty com­mis­sion meet­ings, said that the “…pan­dem­ic is over…” and that “We’re a free coun­ty. Indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty reigns in Franklin Coun­ty, that’s my response.”

Fines may be levied against the coun­ty for its lack of compliance.

On Fri­day, Decem­ber 3rd, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, at a sched­uled news con­fer­ence, declared that while the omi­cron vari­ant of COVID-19 mer­its con­cern, deal­ing with the Delta vari­ant is still what wor­ries for him most. “Thir­ty-four per­cent of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans today are walk­ing around with a time bomb in their back­pack because they’re not vac­ci­nat­ed and we’ve been for­tu­nate to date by hav­ing some declin­ing num­bers, but that’s not a cer­tain­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly with this new variant.”

On Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 4th, Gov­er­nor Inslee released a state­ment after pub­lic health offi­cials con­firmed three cas­es of the Omi­cron vari­ant with­in Wash­ing­ton state. “We knew this day was inevitable, but the good news is we have more tools at our dis­pos­al to fight the virus than at any pre­vi­ous point in the pan­dem­ic, and we must con­tin­ue to pro­tect our­selves and our communities.”

“There is still much to learn about this vari­ant as sci­en­tists around the world con­tin­ue to study it. It remains as impor­tant as ever to get vac­ci­nat­ed, get boost­ed, wear a mask and be safe,” said Inslee. “We can­not yield an inch to this virus. Be vig­i­lant for any symp­toms – such as fever or fatigue – and mask up in pub­lic set­tings. We all have the pow­er to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe.”

Here is a recent update of eli­gi­bil­i­ty for vac­cines and boost­ers in Wash­ing­ton state, and here is the best site to keep track of where you and your loved ones can be test­ed if necessary.


The Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty has announced that it will roll out a dig­i­tal vac­cine card in March of 2022. Use of the card will be strict­ly vol­un­tary and optional.

On Tues­day, Novem­ber 30th, Gov­er­nor Kate Brown called a spe­cial ses­sion of the state leg­is­la­ture, to con­vene on Decem­ber 13th, to pro­vide fund­ing and extend­ed pro­tec­tions for renters with­in the state this winter.

On Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 4th, David Kabua, Pres­i­dent of the Mar­shall Islands, made a vir­tu­al guest appear­ance in Salem Sat­ur­day as a fea­tured speak­er at a new vac­ci­na­tion clin­ic for Mar­shallese res­i­dents of Ore­gon at the Salem Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, cre­at­ed in con­junc­tion with the city of Salem.

If you or your loved ones need to be test­ed for COVID, here is where to check for test loca­tions with­in the state near­est where you live.


On Wednes­day, Decem­ber 1st, Dou­glas Wold, a res­i­dent of Merid­i­an, was sen­tenced to almost three and a half months in fed­er­al prison for using fed­er­al funds set aside for COVID-19 test­ing at his employ­er, Fry Foods, in near­by Ontario, Ore­gon to pur­chase a speedboat.

On Thurs­day, Decem­ber 2nd, jury tri­als in the 1st Judi­cial Dis­trict of north­ern Ida­ho were post­poned through the week of Decem­ber 6th, due to con­cerns of poten­tial­ly spread­ing the virus through juries.

There isn’t, unfor­tu­nate­ly, a state-spe­cif­ic site for where test­ing for COVID-19 is avail­able. This site appears to be what is rec­om­mend­ed by the state of Idaho.

British Colum­bia

On Tues­day, Novem­ber 30th, the first known infec­tion of the Omi­cron vari­ant of COVID-19 with­in the province was found in a per­son resid­ing in the Fras­er Health region, who had recent­ly returned home from trav­el­ing in Nige­ria. Provin­cial Health Offi­cer Dr. Bon­nie Hen­ry says that per­son is present­ly isolating.

On Wednes­day, Decem­ber 1st, the Koote­nay Inter­na­tion­al Junior Hock­ey League announced that Ter­ry Jones, head coach and gen­er­al man­ag­er of the Beaver Val­ley Nite­hawks, had been sus­pend­ed for eight games because two of his play­ers par­tic­i­pat­ed in team activ­i­ties for about three weeks after hav­ing received only one dose of a COVID-19 vac­cine. The team was also fined $2,500 for vio­lat­ing the league’s vac­ci­na­tion policy.

That same day, the Col­lege of Chi­ro­prac­tors of British Colum­bia vot­ed 78% in favor for their pro­fes­sion­al reg­u­la­tor to “take a stand” against a promised COVID-19 shot man­date through a res­o­lu­tion to “main­tain the right to med­ical free­dom of choice” for chiropractors.

Here is a focal point for test­ing pro­vid­ed by the provin­cial government.

The hard, cold numbers (plus vaccinations)

Wash­ing­ton has had 784,224 cas­es and 9,473 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the forty-fifth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

The state has the forty-fifth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

9,842,443 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 13,915,795
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 11,268,717 (80.98%)

Ore­gon has had 394,569 cas­es and 5,243 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the forty-eighth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

The state has the forty-sixth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion population.

8,142,091 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 7,953,005
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 6,193,364 (77.87%)

Ida­ho has had 308,669 cas­es and 3,969 attrib­ut­able deaths.

The state has the sev­en­teenth worst infec­tion rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

The state has the thir­ty-fourth worst death rate among the fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puer­to Rico per mil­lion in population.

2,297,384 tests have been recorded.

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the state: 2,741,310
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 1,881,077 (68.62%)

British Colum­bia has had 219,584 cas­es and 2,351 attrib­ut­able deaths.

4,682,135 tests have been recorded.

British Colum­bia has the sixth worst infec­tion rate and the sixth worst death rate among the thir­teen Cana­di­an provinces and ter­ri­to­ries per hun­dred thou­sand pop­u­la­tion. (If it were an Amer­i­can state, it would be fifty-third and fifty-third, respec­tive­ly, out of fifty-three.)

  • Dos­es of vac­cine dis­trib­uted to the province: 9,403,360
  • Dos­es admin­is­tered: 8,761,618 (93.18%)

That does it for this install­ment of COVID-19 Update. Stay safe and well!

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