COVID-19 rates increase, Benton County officials urge residents to get vaccinated


Bennett Amerman, Illustrator

Benton County COVID-19 cases are on the rise largely due to unvaccinated populations and the Delta variant’s increased transmissibility. Students are recommended to continue to wear masks as an effective preventative measure against COVID-19.

Elijah Dodd, News Contributor

COVID-19 rates in Benton County had been dropping since January. After a period of decline, infection rates are on the rise again—in part due to the new Delta variant.

As of the week of Sept. 13, Benton County has 190 current infections and as of Sept. 19, has seen 4,501 cumulative cases.

Rocío Muñoz, a health equity and communications representative from the Benton County Health Department, recommends taking more precautions in order to keep up with the rising infection level.

“As schools plan for the school year, it is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to change with new variants and our knowledge of mitigation efforts grows over time,” Muñoz said. “For these reasons, the guidance and public health measures for responding to COVID-19 also change.

“With the Delta variant circulating in our community, it is smart to mask up in public settings and in private when families are with people from different households,” Muñoz said.

The Oregon Health Authority has responded accordingly to the rising infection rates.

As of Aug. 17, the Benton County Health Department has issued Order #D2021-063, which requires masks or face coverings to be worn indoors by everyone over the age of five.

The levels of vaccinated people in Benton County have increased, too. As of Sept. 13, 70% of the population 12 and older are fully vaccinated. The Benton County Health Department considers vaccination an “important measure”for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

In order to further increase vaccination rates, the Benton County Health Department has or- ganized several vaccination clinics from the end of September through the month of October. These events are scheduled in or near Corvallis, and offer a $100 gift card for groceries and food boxes to people who get the vaccine while supplies last.

“Right now, the best tools to protect individuals are vaccination for those eligible, physical distancing, masks, ventilation and airflow, hand hygiene and staying home if ill or exposed to someone with COVID-19,” Muñoz said.

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