Both organizations offer a daily email newsletter, and OHA also has a general information hotline that can be reached by dialing 211.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
COVID-19 may cause fever, cough or difficulty breathing. A majority of people who get the virus will have only mild symptoms.
People at risk for more significant symptoms includes the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and/or weakened immune systems.
We have been preparing to handle cases of COVID-19 since December. We understand the threat of infectious disease and the anxiety it can bring to the community. Below are a few of the things we are doing to keep our community healthy.
As of March 18, 2022, 7:00 a.m.
Effective Jan. 15, 2021, there has been a change in the methodology of the weekly reported numbers. We are now reporting the number of unique “encounters/admissions” to the hospital, rather than unique patients. This change is occurring due to the increasing number of individuals that end up readmitted for their COVID disease as this pandemic continues.
As of March 18, 2022, 7:00 a.m.
Since opening Thursday, Jan. 7, Salem Health's COVID-19 vaccine distribution center at the state fairgrounds has delivered vaccine to the arms of nurses, firefighters, EMS and many others in OHA's vaccine phase 1a who have been serving our community throughout the pandemic. Over the past four days, Salem Health has vaccinated more than 8,000 Oregonians.
The successful effort has been possible because of collaboration from many partners. Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority provided additional vaccines, as did Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health and Services and Scappoose Fire District. Marion County Public Health provided logistical and facility support. Most importantly, the success belongs to hundreds of unfaltering Salem Health staff who continue to stand up when called upon by their community.
While this is just the start, it is a strong beginning to the long-term endeavor of vaccinating Oregon. The fairground model was able to vaccinate 410 people per hour, and is scalable with additional human resources and vaccine. The Salem Health model shows an effective and efficient way to vaccinate on a large scale and grow immunity in our community. Salem Health intends to operate this vaccine center until the entire state is vaccinated.
As part of its ongoing contribution to state vaccination efforts, Salem Health is working hard to make sure language, transportation and other potential barriers do not prevent someone from getting vaccinated. The fairgrounds vaccine center is located centrally to the county and state. The location is well-known, and accessible by bus.
The fairgrounds vaccine center will be closed Monday, preserving a few hundred doses to re-open Tuesday in anticipation of an additional vaccine delivery that afternoon. Hours will vary until vaccine supply is more predictable. Individuals interested in vaccination at the fairgrounds this week should check for updates on vaccine availability at www.salemhealth.org/covid-vaccine or Salem Health's Facebook page.
As more people are potentially exposed to the omicron variant, we want to remind the public — please do not come to the emergency room for COVID testing.
If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID or have symptoms:
If you test positive:
Thank you for helping us protect our staff by taking advantage of drive-up testing!
Video courtesy of the Oregon Health Authority.
You prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 by:
Can I be tested?
Due to the limited amount of testing supplies, Salem Health is offering testing to hospitalized patients who meet exposure criteria. If you think you meet the criteria, please contact your primary care provider directly or call 503-814-0099.
Should I come in for treatment?
Should I wear a mask?
The CDC recommends masks for public spaces. If you have respiratory symptoms like a cough or sneeze, a mask is a great tool to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
Is the hospital canceling classes and support groups?
The CHEC is offering classes and support groups both virtually and small groups in-person. For more information, call the CHEC at 503-814-2432 or visit salemhealth.org/chec.
Community job shadows are suspended until further notice. All current participants have been notified. Applications are still being accepted, but scheduling will be delayed.
What is the policy for visitors at Salem Health facilities?
This policy continues to evolve as new information becomes available about COVID-19 in our community. In general, only patients and those visitors who meet specific criteria are allowed until further notice. The full details of the policy are available here.
Can I still send gifts to patients in the hospital?
At this time, we are asking the public not to send flowers to ICU patients, to help reduce the risk of infection.
Can I sew masks to donate to the hospital?
At this time, we are not requesting home-sewn masks from the public. If and when we do, we'll announce it on our social media and our mask-making page. Thank you to everyone who took part in the mask-making project! If you are looking for ways to help Salem Hospital and health care workers, please check out the "You can help!" tab above!
Where else can I get the most up-to-date information?
The most up-to-date Salem Health information will be under the "Latest news" tab above. The Oregon Health Authority has information and resources at oregon.gov/oha or by dialing 211. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available at cdc.gov. Both the OHA and CDC have newsletters you can subscribe to in order to get email updates straight to your inbox.
Most of us have never lived through a national health outbreak like this before and are looking for positive ways to make a difference.
Luckily, there are things you can do without leaving your house that will help hospitals and health care workers.
Our staff have stepped up to this pandemic in remarkable ways.
Now, you can send them a message or picture of encouragement to brighten their day.
Form submissions become part of a daily internal message to all staff and will not be made public without permission.
By giving to the Salem Health Foundation or Salem Health West Valley Foundation Area of Greatest Need funds, you’re supporting the fight against COVID-19. These gifts support those on the front lines by providing critical supplies and resources.
Plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies that attack the virus – and it’s being evaluated as a treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
Is the vaccine safe?
The vaccine has been through extensive clinical trials and has proven to have relatively minor side effects, such as muscle aches and low-grade fever. Because it is an mRNA vaccine, there is no COVID-19 virus in the formula. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Pfizer has stated that individuals with severe allergies should not get the vaccine at this time. The FDA has approved the vaccine for pregnant women. Learn more about safety protocols and the development of the vaccine directly from Pfizer.
Is the vaccine effective?
In clinical trials, when both doses were completed, the Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective at preventing COVID-19. For comparison, the efficacy of the annual flu shot averages about 40%.
You must receive a second dose at least 21 to 28 days after the first dose for the vaccine to be effective. Without the follow-up dose, the first is not effective and is essentially a wasted vaccine. Because there is a very limited supply of doses, the Oregon Health Authority is imploring people to get their second dose. We cannot afford any wasted vaccines.
How will we know if we’re having side effects from the vaccine or real symptoms of COVID?
The recommendation at this time is to consider symptoms during the first three days after vaccination as side effects. Anyone currently on quarantine due to exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should wait to receive vaccinations until their quarantine period has ended, so we can be more certain of where symptoms are coming from.
Does the vaccine contain eggs? I’m allergic.
No, the mRNA vaccines do not require the use of egg products in their manufacture.
If I have already had COVID, do I still need the vaccine?
Because we know very little at this time about how long immunity lasts following the resolution of the COVID virus, the OHA recommends people get vaccinated even if they have already had COVID.
Once I get the vaccine, will I still need to wear a mask and socially distance?
Yes. Current evidence/knowledge shows that the vaccine protects against the virus itself, but not that it can prevent transmission of the virus to others. In other words, you could be vaccinated, have the virus without symptoms, and still transmit the infection to someone who is not yet vaccinated. We will need to continue our prevention measures for many months until a majority of the population has been vaccinated.