16th COVID-19 related death of a Hood River County resident

Press release from the Hood River County Health Department 12/29/20

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the 16th COVID-19 related death of a Hood River County resident. Hood River County remains at the Red or Extreme Risk Level through December 31, 2020. Current data indicates we will continue at the Extreme Risk Level for the next two week interval beginning January 1, 2021 and ending January 14, 2020. Current data reflects we have rapid transmission of the virus occurring in Hood River County.

Vaccine arrival gives us hope that the pandemic will eventually end, but in the meantime, we need to continue safety measures to keep the virus from spreading! Vigilance in practicing basic prevention measures — wearing masks, physical distancing, avoiding gatherings, staying home if sick — must continue for the foreseeable future. Continuing to practice these measures now will help avoid case surges in the following weeks as we wait for additional doses of vaccine to arrive. What we do today will make a difference in the weeks to come; we must continue taking all safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community!

All cases reported for Hood River County are local residents. Tourists or visiting family and friends who test positive are not  reported or counted in our numbers, they are reported to, and included in, the count for the county of their home address. Our local contract tracers have identified that people are going to work and to social outings while symptomatic. People in the community are wearing masks improperly and transmitting the virus as asymptomatic carriers. We will not be able to reopen schools or businesses unless Hood River County Residents change their behavior!

Please consider the community as a whole when you make plans for New Year’s celebrations. As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase in our county the safest way to celebrate this year is at home with people who live with you! We should all be thinking about our community efforts to date and continue our vigilance to speed the process of re-opening schools and local businesses.

Local businesses need our support through the difficult times still ahead. This has been an unprecedented lifetime experience for all of us. Most small businesses are struggling.  Please consider ordering some take out or visiting the online outlets for local businesses.  We can protect each other from the virus as well as support our local businesses.