The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday reported 11 more deaths and a daily record 484 new coronavirus cases, surpassing a high set two weeks ago as infections shoot upward with alarming trajectory.
Oregon is now approaching peak levels not seen since late July and early August. The daily average for the past week stands at 322 confirmed or suspected infections.
The 11 deaths disclosed by the state Thursday are the second-most fatalities reported at one time. All but one of those Oregonians died in recent days, including seven seniors from Wasco County. The state has reported only one outbreak at a care center in the county, at Flagstone Senior Living.
Thursday’s case count marks the ninth time Oregon has reported 400 or more cases. The previous high, from Sept. 25, was 457 cases.
The record was set in part because of an outbreak in Klamath County. But Washington, Lane and Multnomah counties all reported big case counts, too.
State officials have acknowledged that modeling indicates infections will continue to rise through the month. That may be even more apparent as the state brings on additional testing that could help identify cases that otherwise would go undetected.
State officials have not ruled out new policies to slow spread but have been generally reluctant to impose restrictions, hoping Oregonians will heed guidance to wear masks, physically distance and avoid social gatherings.
New surveys released by the state Thursday showed many Oregonians are adhering. Some 84% say they wear masks indoors in public nearly all the time, while 51% said they attended three or fewer gatherings in the past two weeks.
But roughly 20% of those surveyed reported attending more than 10 gatherings in the past two weeks.
State officials said they need to keep promoting the same messages while finding new ways to convince people who aren’t listening.
But it’s not clear how effective that strategy might be. The last time Oregon had been on such an upward trajectory, Gov. Kate Brown issued a statewide mask mandate — a simple but major policy change that is no longer available.
“It only takes a few people who are not doing the right things,” said Dr. Thomas Jeanne, the deputy state health officer and deputy epidemiologist, “to kind of seed some illness and spread COVID.”
Where the new cases are by county: Baker (1), Benton (11), Clackamas (31), Columbia (8), Coos (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (17), Douglas (9), Gilliam (1), Hood River (3), Jackson (17), Jefferson (11), Josephine (2), Klamath (44), Lane (71), Lincoln (3), Linn (20), Malheur (16), Marion (31), Morrow (5), Multnomah (82), Polk (5), Umatilla (18), Union (2), Wasco (4), Washington (58) and Yamhill (12).
New fatalities: Oregon’s 584th death linked to coronavirus is an 87-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying health conditions. She tested positive Sept. 18 and died Oct. 6 at her residence.
The 585th fatality is an 85-year-old Washington County woman with underlying medical conditions. She tested positive Oct. 6 and died Oct. 7 at her residence.
Oregon’s 586th death is an 88-year-old Washington County woman with underlying health conditions. She tested positive Oct. 2 and died Oct. 7 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
The 587th fatality is an 89-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying medical conditions. She tested positive Sept. 23 and died Oct. 5 in her residence.
Oregon’s 588th death is a 103-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying health conditions. She tested positive Sept. 26 and died Oct. 5 in her residence.
The 589th fatality is a 92-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying medical conditions. She tested positive Sept. 18 and died Oct. 6 in her residence.
Oregon’s 590th death is a 95-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying health conditions. She tested positive Sept. 23 and died Oct. 5 in her residence.
The 591st fatality is an 81-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying medical conditions. She tested positive Sept. 18 and died Oct. 2 in her residence.
Oregon’s 592nd death is a 98-year-old Wasco County woman with underlying health conditions. She tested positive Sept. 18 and died Oct. 3 in her residence.
The 593rd fatality is a 75-year-old Linn County man with underlying medical conditions. He tested positive May 9 and died Aug. 26 in his residence.
Oregon’s 593rd death is an 82-year-old Lane County man with underlying health conditions. He tested positive Sept. 25 and died Oct. 7 in his residence.
The prevalence of infections: State officials reported 457 new confirmed infections out of 5,785 people tested, equaling a 7.9% positivity rate.
Who got infected: New confirmed or presumed infections grew among the following age groups: 0-9 (20); 10-19 (62); 20-29 (125); 30-39 (82); 40-49 (77); 50-59 (56); 60-69 (25); 70-79 (14); 80 and older (13).
Who’s in the hospital: The state Wednesday reported 132 Oregonians with confirmed coronavirus infections are currently in the hospital, up three from Wednesday. Oregon remains well below its capacity, with hundreds of hospital beds and ventilators available.
Since it began: Oregon has reported 36,116 confirmed or presumed infections and 594 deaths, among the lowest totals in the nation. To date, 722,562 Oregonians have been tested.
— Brad Schmidt; email@example.com; 503-294-7628; @_brad_schmidt
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