Local News That Matters

UPDATES: County dog licenses available online, judge says inmates get vaccines, return-to-school Q&A

February 3, 2021 at 4:11pm

Limited Covid vaccines coming to Safeway, Costco, Albertsons in Oregon

Avi Singh draws up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan. 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem residents eligible for a Covid vaccine will soon have another option: local pharmacies.

Beginning the week of Feb. 8, the federal government will ship vaccine doses directly to retail pharmacies around the U.S., which can administer shots to people eligible under each state's guidelines, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients announced Tuesday.

Zients said the program would initially be very limited, including 6,500 pharmacies around the U.S., with 1 million doses shipping next week. That's on top of about 10.5 million Covid vaccine doses scheduled to ship directly to hospitals and other providers next week, he said.

In Oregon, the program includes Safeway, Albertsons and Costco locations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. But people seeking to schedule appointments will likely have to wait.

Safeway and Albertsons stores have an online scheduling tool, though no appointments were yet available at Salem-area stores as of Wednesday afternoon. The company expects to receive about 100 doses of vaccine at each of its 115 Oregon stores next week, a company spokesman told The Oregonian, but is waiting until vaccine is in hand before opening scheduling.

Costco has not yet posted information about scheduling or detailed its plans.

To schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy, people must attest they're eligible to receive a Covid vaccine under Oregon's current guidelines, which include health care workers, first responders, correctional employees, educators and child care providers. Oregonians 80 and older become eligible Feb. 8.

-Rachel Alexander

February 3, 2021 at 10:23am

Back-to-school questions? Oregon schools chief, epidemiologist available for Wednesday Q&A

School buses parked in the Salem-Keizer School District lot on Hawthorne Avenue (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Oregon parents with questions about returning to in-person school can hear from the state's school chief and an epidemiologist Wednesday afternoon.

The Oregon Health Authority will hold a Facebook live event with Colt Gill, leader of the Oregon Department of Education, and Dr. Thomas Jeanne, deputy state health officer at 1:30 p.m Feb. 3.

Salem-Keizer School District leaders told the school board last week they intend to return kindergarten and first grade students to school buildings in early March, then phase in second through fifth grade by March 15.

The district has not yet released detailed information for parents about plans to return to classrooms, but expects to do so Thursday, district leaders said.

-Rachel Alexander

February 3, 2021 at 9:36am

Oregon prisoners now prioritized for Covid vaccine following judge's ruling

Oregon State Correctional Institution. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

People incarcerated in Oregon’s prisons will now have priority access to Covid vaccinations under a federal judge’s ruling.

U.S. District Court of Oregon Judge Stacie Beckerman ruled on Tuesday, Feb. 3 that denying incarcerated individuals the vaccine violated the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. 

“Our constitutional rights are not suspended during a crisis,” Beckerman wrote in her ruling.

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by the civil rights group Oregon Justice Resource Center and other attorneys on behalf of seven Oregon prisoners. 

Prisons in Oregon and elsewhere have struggled to contain the virus. In Oregon, 3,392 prisoners have tested positive for the virus. The state Department of Corrections has confirmed the deaths of 42 incarcerated individuals who had tested positive for the virus. 

With a limited supply of doses, the state has been offering the vaccination to priority groups in phases. Under the judge’s ruling, prisoners will be in the state’s phase 1a, group 2, which includes health care providers, people in long-term care facilities and others. 

State agencies haven't released details on a vaccination plan in response to the ruling.

-Jake Thomas

February 3, 2021 at 9:16am

Marion County dog licenses now available online

Dog licenses are now available online through Marion County Dog Services. (Courtesy/Mary Louise VanNatta)

Marion County residents can now get their dog’s license online through Marion County Dog Services.

“We know the community wants an online option and it’s become even more necessary this year with our lobby closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ann Potter, Dog Services director, in a prepared statement.

Licenses, required by state law, prove a dog has been vaccinated against rabies and can help owners find their lost pet.

They cost $20 per year for dogs that are spayed or neutered and $37 for unfixed dogs. Discounts are available for multi-year licenses and senior dog owners. 

-Saphara Harrell