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Brown: COVID-19 may be on a downward trend, but don't let your guard down

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Gov. Kate Brown had some good news to share with the state on Tuesday: COVID-19 hospitalizations are down, and cases are trending downward, too.

While the state is coming out of the worst surge yet of the virus with the Delta variant, we still have a long way to go, Brown reminded Oregonians at the press conference.

Brown also discussed the recent approval of the Pfizer booster shot and upcoming approvals for the vaccine in ages 5 and up. She said there's renewed hope with more people getting vaccinated and more people becoming eligible for the vaccine. Everyone who is eligible who wants a Pfizer booster shot will be able to get one, she added.

MORE:Booster shots rolling out across Oregon

Local doctors are also pushing the community here in Lane County to roll up their sleeves. Dr. Jim McGovern, Vice President of Medical Affairs at RiverBend, said hospitals are working to get ready for another surge. 

"So we'll being doing this for a little while and I think right now we're just focused on how do we get back to as normal of operations as we can; how do we increase the capacity for those people who need surgeries in our buildings," said McGovern. 

KEZI 9 News also talked to other local health experts, like Dr. Patrick Luedtke of Lane County Public Health. He answered some common questions the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the table, such as what quarantining looks like after you get vaccinated against the virus. 

Luedtke said if you are fully vaccinated, and are not showing any symptoms, you might not have to quarantine at all. 

"There's a few ifs there: you have to be fully vaccinated. So it's not just one dose of Pfizer, it's also not just two doses of Pfizer, it has to be two weeks or more after the second dose. So there are some caveats, and you know one of our roles in public health is to make sure every one of those little dots is dotted," said Luedtke. 

But how are Eugene residents feeling about the downward trend in cases? 

People like Ria Anderson said the decrease in cases is good but still worrisome. 

"I am worried. I hope people who have held off on getting the vaccine won't let the downward trend in cases stop them from getting one now," said Anderson. 

And Eugene resident Mary Hendricks said we all should be on the same level when it comes to the importance of our health. 

"Our health needs to become more of a cohesive narrative instead of different parts because everybody needs to know what's going on once again," said Hendricks. 

Luedtke also pointed out with the change in seasons, the dip in temperatures could cause for some concern when it comes to another surge. 

RELATED:COVID-19 on a slow decline, but Lane County not out of the woods yet, doctors say

Last December, Oregon crossed the 1,000th COVID-19 death. Now, the death toll is at 3,750.

"The winter is coming. Colder weather and rain and people are breathing the same air," said Luedtke.

As far as another surge, Luedtke said that is always in the back of his brain. 

"We're always worried about some other variant showing up so we continue to do surveillance for that," said Luedtke. 

COVID-19 isn't the only respiratory disease you could get this winter. Luedtke said now is as good a time as any to get the flu vaccine, which you can get at the same time as your COVID-19 vaccine. He said the the goal every year is to get people vaccinated against influenza by Oct. 31.

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