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4 new COVID-19 Linn County deaths reported Thursday

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Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center is using the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in the Mid-Valley Friday afternoon.

Four new deaths connected to COVID-19 were reported in Linn County on Thursday, raising that county’s death total to 119. Benton County’s death toll remains at 30, with no new deaths reported.

The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday reported 1,237 new positive and presumptive COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s case total to 347,616. There were 24 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising Oregon’s death total to 4,141.

Linn County reported 22 new positive and presumptive cases, bringing that county’s case total to 12,290. Benton County reported 26 new positive and presumptive cases, bringing that county’s case total to 5,272.

Another step is underway in the push to vaccinate children against COVID-19.Pfizer announced Thursday it officially submitted a request to the FDA for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine in kids 5 to 11 years old. The company is looking to amend its EUA to include the age group, which if granted, would offer 5 to 11 year olds the first COVID-19 vaccine option for them. The FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is expected to meet Oct. 26 to discuss Pfizer's request and hear input from public health experts. An FDA spokesperson states, "While the FDA cannot predict how long its evaluation of the data and information will take, the agency will review the EUA request as expeditiously as possible using its thorough and science-based approach, and expects this evaluation to take a matter of weeks as opposed to months."Pfizer said it submitted initial data to the agency last week. It said the vaccine showed a favorable safety profile and elicited robust neutralizing antibody responses. The company said the results were comparable to those in a previous study in people 16 to 25 years old. The vaccine for kids five to 11 was given at a third of the dose used in the older age group. The vaccine would be given in two doses, three weeks apart, according to the company. The new prompted varying views from parents contemplating what steps they would take if the vaccine moved forward. "I would not have them take it initially," said Ivory McGee Perry. "I think maybe after a year if other parents want to do that I would wait and see if there are any side effects or long term effects you know after a year then maybe I would have my children vaccinated."Another parent told us of a different plan. "I'm excited that my youngest can finally get protect everybody else in the house is and he as just that missing link," said Vanessa Blaszczyk, adding concern about protecting others with risk factors.Pediatricians are encouraging parents to talk to their pediatricians or doctors. "We in the medical community are extremely confident that these vaccines are safe and are effective and we are going to convey that to our parents, said Dr. Lisa Gwynn. Gwynn is the president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and an associate professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "They've gone through a lot this pandemic," Gwynn said. "For them to be able to go to school to remain in school to not have to be quarantined that's a huge quality of life issue for our children so this vaccine is one step closer in getting to that goal."Other doctors also pointed to school."What that means is almost every kid that goes to school now has the opportunity to protect themselves," said Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious disease and immunology for Wolfson Children's Hospital. "It's exciting news its something we've all been waiting for for quite a while now."For parents, another doctor offered this: "My message to them is one we have really good data from adults. We have 6.4 billion people in the world who have been vaccinated with very, very few adverse events and I feel like, with kids, that probably will be even less based on what I know about vaccines, said Dr. Katie Taylor with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Louisiana.

OHA released its weekly breakthrough report, revealing that 72.8% of the 9,141 cases reported between Oct. 3 and Oct. 9 occurred in unvaccinated individuals. There were 2,490 breakthrough cases, which is 27.2% of all cases. 

Vaccination remains the most effective tool to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Hospitalizations: OHA reported 575 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Oregon, 146 of which are in intensive care unit beds.

There are 56 available adult ICU beds out of 685, or an 8% availability. There are 289 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,094, a 7% availability.

In the mid-Willamette Valley, only 2% of adult ICU beds are available, and only 1% of adult non-ICU beds are available.

Vaccinations: OHA reported that 12,696 new vaccine doses were added to the state immunization registry on Wednesday, Oct. 13. There are nearly 2.8 million Oregonians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 2.6 million Oregonians who have completed a vaccine series.

National: The Centers for Disease Control reported 92,217 new positive and presumptive cases in the U.S. on Thursday, bringing the country’s case total to over 44.6 million. There were 1,713 new COVID-related deaths, raising the U.S. death total to 718,681.

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_. 

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