In this week’s issue:

OSU Extension vaccination outreach and education updates

Starting April 19, all individuals 16 and older in Phase 2 are eligible to be vaccinated in Oregon. Individuals in Phases 1A and 1B, groups 1-7 are currently eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority has a Get Vaccinted Oregon tool that helps you create an account and find a vaccination provider when you are eligible to receive a vaccine.

Pause in Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

This morning, the Oregon Health Authority has asked all of the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, per the announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Federal Drug Administration. This is out of an abundance of caution as they review six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in women ages 18-48 after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

About the Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO) Tool

  • The GVO no longer accepts landline phone numbers as a method of contact. Using these automated calls as a response for the GVO was confusing to landline users who have been warned by the Oregon Department of Justice to be careful of automated calls. (For more on COVID-19 fraud schemes, consult this guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General).
  • Anyone who registered for the GVO tool with a landline will be contacted for support with vaccine access. Many of those who registered in the GVO with a landline registered through 211. Anyone whose preferred method of contact is a landline can continue to call 211 for support in accessing vaccine (or toll free, 1-866-698-6155 or TTY dial 711 and 1-866-698-6155).

No Documentation Needed

  • All eligible individuals in Oregon can get the vaccine.
  • You don’t need to have identification.
  • You don’t need to be a U.S. citizen.
  • Getting the vaccine will not affect your immigration status or count as a public charge.
  • You don’t need to have or provide a Social Security number.
  • If you need support or information on resources for help you can call the Safe + Strong Helpline: 1-800-923-HELP(4357).

Vaccines Are Free

The vaccine will be given to everyone for free. The dose is paid for by the federal government and you cannot be charged a visit fee. However, if you have insurance, the insurance company can be charged for the visit fee.  Therefore, for those who have insurance you may be asked to provide the name of the insurance company so they can be billed for that visit.

County Risk Levels

As vaccinations increase, case counts and percent positivity won’t be adequate indicators on their own for measuring the threat COVID-19 poses to public health. Oregon is adding a statewide hospitalization metric for Extreme Riisk counties.

Beginning this week, for counties to move to – or remain in – Extreme Risk, they must meet the county metrics for case rates and percent positivity, plus COVID-19 positive patients occupying 300 hospital beds or more, and a 15% increase in the seven-day average of hospitalizations over the past week.

Counties that meet the criteria for Extreme Risk but not for the statewide trigger will be assigned to High Risk. This week there are three counties that qualify for Extreme Risk based on their county metrics, but are assigned High Risk because the statewide trigger has not been met: Josephine, Klamath, and Tillamook.

The first week’s data will provide a “warning week” to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will be announced April 20 and take effect April 23.

Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to

Disinfectant Cleaning Not As Important As Originally Thought

The CDC has issued new guidelines that suggest cleaning with soap or detergent and water will suffice in killing the virus. Disinfectant cleaning isn’t needed.  Soap/detergent and water suffice. According to a recent article in The New York Times, money for COVID-19 prevention in shared facilities, excluding health care, is better spent on securing air filtration systems.

“This should be the end of deep cleaning,” said Dr. Joseph Allen, a building safety expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noting that the misplaced focus on surfaces has had real costs. “It has led to closed playgrounds, it has led to taking nets off basketball courts, it has led to quarantining books in the library. It has led to entire missed school days for deep cleaning. It has led to not being able to share a pencil. So that’s all that hygiene theater, and it’s a direct result of not properly classifying surface transmission as low risk.”

Breakthrough Cases

There has been a very low rate of “breakthrough” cases – instances in which an individual received a positive COVID-19 test result at least 14 days after the final dose of their respective COVID-19 vaccine. At best the vaccines are only 95% effective so wearing face coverings, social distancing and handwashing still matter. On April 8, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that it had identified 168 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases in Oregon through April 2, including three deaths.

First Monday Update

In case you missed it! First Monday Up is about statewide mental health first aid initiative. Check it out here.

Professional Development Resources

Please check out the upcoming statewide professional development sessions, plenty of interesting sessions, past, present and future here.
Sessions for the next two weeks are:

Thursday, April 15, 2021 @ 10:00 am: Extension communications, informational technology and noncredit education: Orientation and refresher

Friday, April 16, 2021 @ 10:30 am: Ask Anita

New Additions to OSU Extension Catalog

EM 9155, How to Control Slugs in Your Garden/Cómo Controlar a las Babosas en su Jardín
Neil Bell, Amy J. Dreves
Revised (Replaces EC 1536-S). Practical tips on how to deal with slugs in your garden, given in both English and Spanish.

Consejos prácticos sobre como tratar las babosas en su jardín, dados en inglés y español.

Extension News and Impact Stories

Producing news and impact stories is the No. 1 priority for the Extension Communications’ news team, as we help you share how Extension is actively serving communities. These stories were published in the last week:

We encourage active sharing of these stories across Extension’s social media accounts and inclusion in appropriate newsletters. We will include recently published stories in Extension ConnEXTion each week. Feel free to browse the Extension website news section and Our Impact site as well, for stories that are relevant to your communities.

Do you have a story that you want to share? Contact Chris Branam, Extension Communications’ news and public issues education leader,

Navigator Digital Strategy Update

Effective writing for easier reading

Plain language for me has been one of the most humbling and aspiring components of my career in recent years,” says Weston Miller, Community Horticulturist for Extension in the Portland metro area. “It’s been about stepping aside from my own beliefs in how content should be written – looking at it from the eyes of the reader and adapting the content.”

The average American reads at the 7th or 8th grade reading levels. So, it’s best we write in the clearest, simplest way possible to reach all people. “If people hit a wall of text, it’s probably not going to go very well. They are probably not going to get the information they need,” says Weston. Also, adding icons or photos can help show and reinforce your message.

In this recording, Weston (12:22-20:45) and Janet Donnelly (6:30-12:20) from Extension Communications show how to quickly break up a densely written paragraph to make it plain language. And they share tools you can use to check final reading level.

Start your plain language editing by taking 5 minutes to focus on:

  • Shorter words
  • Shorter sentences
  • Shorter paragraphs

Then learn more plain language tips on the Virtual Extension employee intranet.

Diversity Highlights

TONIGHT! BIPOC in STEM Career Conversation: The College of Science BIPOC student group is hosting a discussion with BIPOC STEM professionals on Tuesday, April 13 at 5 p.m. Kim Tran from Integrity Bio, Dawn Wright from Esri, Jacob Benson III from Innovator Semiconductor Solutions and Shaznin Daruwalla from CAPS join us for a 30-minute student Q&A followed by breakout sessions.

Provost’s Lecture Featuring Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award Winner, Historian and Leading Anti-Racist Voice in America
Oregon State University invites you to join a virtual event on Wednesday, April 14, featuring Ibram X. Kendi – National Book Award Winner (2019), Guggenheim Fellow, historian, three-time NY Times best selling author and journalist. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research for a conversation about How To Be an Anti-Racist. Register here.

Registration now open for the OSU ADA 30th Anniversary Symposium
The ADA30 Celebratory Symposium is the culmination of Oregon State University’s year-long celebration of the 30thanniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This symposium combines poster and paper sessions with community-oriented workshops and facilitated discussions to create opportunities for dialogue across spheres of experience. Rather than holding a conventional conference in a shorter (1- or 2-day) timeframe, the symposium aims to increase accessibility and reduce “Zoom burnout” by spreading out sessions over the entire month of May.

Call for Applications – Inclusive Excellence@OSU 2021 Cohort: Each year IE@OSU welcomes STEM faculty from OSU, Linn-Benton and Lane Community Colleges to participate in a yearlong fellowship. Inclusive Excellence@OSU seeks to transform STEM education by creating a thriving community of peers who are invested in inclusive excellence in STEM, challenging fellows to develop equity and justice-oriented mindsets and exploring pedagogical practices that fellows can implement in their own classrooms. Click here for application and more info. Deadline to apply is May 3.

DEI In the News

Why we need new benchmarks for AI (Wall Street Journal)
“The focus of all AI development was all on accuracy, especially when it came to benchmarks,” says Youjin Kong, an associate visiting professor of philosophy at Oregon State University who works on ethics and social philosophy in AI. “But what’s the purpose of competition to increase accuracy if the data set itself is biased?” (OSU faculty, staff and students can access the WSJ for free from the OSU Libraries website)

Chief Diversity Officers Play Critical Role in Effecting Lasting Change on Campus (Diverse Edu)
“In many places, the conversation starts with reexamining the role of the chief diversity officer, who is often charged with helping institutions develop “cultural competency and expand the social bandwidth of their respective institutions,” says Elizabeth Moore, interim chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University.”

Extension in the News

Everyday People: An avid gardener helps others grow
The Astorian
Wentzel is the new master gardener and small-farms program coordinator on the coast for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Fact check: Bell peppers do not have a gender; false claim based on number of lobes is a myth
USA Today
“The bumps or lack thereof are primarily related to the variety and growing conditions,” according to the Oregon State University Extension Service. 

Garden Plots
The Chronicle
A column by Chip Bubl.

Through the Eyes of an Elder: Staying strong — and connected
Hood River News
Locally, a national program called Strong Women/Strong People (developed by Tufts University, designed for people middle-aged and older, and supported by Oregon State University Extension) has been the answer for many older adults seeking a way to exercise safely in a non-competitive setting.

Oregon State University looks to help address mental health in farming, ranching
“I think there is a perception that if you’re struggling with those sorts of problems, it’s maybe a character flaw,” OSU’s Cassie Bouska states. “I would encourage people to take a step back and realize that mental health problems like chronic depression, anxiety, things like that can actually be, I would consider them like an illness. I just think of it as having the flu basically, you’re not feeling well.”

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