COVID vaccine

Lincoln County residents received some good news this week in terms of the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. But then there was also a bit of bad news to go along with it.

But first the good news.

Lincoln County School District Superintendent Karen Gray issued an update on Monday saying that all students — from kindergarten through 12th grade — will be back in the classroom beginning Monday, April 19. And this will not be the hybrid, two-days-a-week model that some students have already become familiar with. This will be four days a week in school — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. High school students will go back on April 12 under the hybrid model, but then go to four days a week on the 19th.

Gray said, “This comes 13 months, almost to the day that we stopped having full-time school on March 13, 2020. It is time to get kids back in school.” We agree, and we are sure that students, teachers and parents agree as well.

Another bit of good news is that Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday that all Oregonians over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine on that same day — April 19. That’s nearly two weeks sooner than the previously announced date of May 1.

The governor’s announcement came shortly after reports that President Joe Biden planned to move up his deadline for states to make all American adults eligible for the vaccine as of April 19. And Biden did, in fact, make that announcement on Tuesday, saying, “That means by no later than April 19 in every part of the country, every adult over the age of 18, 18 or older, will be eligible to be vaccinated. No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions.”

Lincoln City resident Dave Price pointed out an interesting coincidence with the COVID shots being offered to the general population on April 19, which is also known as Patriots Day. Patriots Day recognizes the event in April 1775, during the Revolutionary War, that led to the famous quote, “The shot heard ‘round the world.” Price said, “Fitting that it's Patriots Day — the day of the 'shot heard ‘round the world.’ Let's hope it's a day of the ‘shots felt 'round the county!’”

That doesn’t mean everyone will be able to receive a vaccine that day, but everyone will be eligible to schedule an appointment.

And then there’s the bad news. Early Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Brown announced that Lincoln County will be moving from moderate risk up to high risk this Friday. This comes in response to a greater number of positive COVID cases recently diagnosed in the county. The county moved from high risk to low risk in February, then was bumped up to moderate risk in late March.

When we go back up to high risk on Friday, it means reduced capacities at some establishments, which is discouraging news.

But we’re hopeful that as more and more people are vaccinated, the number of new cases will drop dramatically. Until that happens, we need stick to that mantra we’ve all become so familiar with — wear your face mask, maintain social distance, and, above all, be patient.

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