The latest COVID-19 forecast from Oregon Health & Science University predicts that the number of people hospitalized with the virus in Oregon will reach a peak over the next week and begin to drop by next weekend.
Peter Graven, OHSU’s lead data scientist, now forecasts that hospitalizations will peak at 1,220 on Feb. 6, a 20% decline from his forecast even last week. The number would just eclipse the previous record of 1,178 on Sept. 1 during this summer’s delta surge. That level of hospitalizations is putting a major strain on the state’s health care system, but is a far cry from Graven’s forecast in mid-December, when he said peak hospitalizations could reach 3,000.
He attributed his reduction to a per capita rate of severe illness that is less than on the East Coast, and the fact that Oregonians were willing to step up with relatively high rates of masking, refraining from large outdoor gatherings and reducing activities such as visiting bars, restaurants and shops.
“Compared with other states, Oregonians have been much more willing to take the measures necessary to ensure timely medical care for everyone who needs a hospital bed,” Graven said in a news release.
The Oregon Health Authority said on Friday it would file permanent rules to maintain indoor masking requirements in K-12 schools, as well as vaccination requirements for school and school-based program staff. Those rules would replace temporary rules set to expire on Friday, though officials emphasized that they only plan to maintain mask mandates during the current omicron surge, and are developing guidelines on when it will be safe to lift the requirements.
The agency is also expecting to file similar permanent rules Monday maintaining masking and vaccination requirements for health care workers, which OHA can loosen or rescind as pandemic conditions change.
The OHA on Friday reported 7,222 new cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths. The number hospitalized with the virus declined by five from Wednesday.
Where the new cases are by county: Baker (32), Benton (172), Clackamas (584), Clatsop (50), Columbia (110), Coos (115), Crook (62), Curry (39), Deschutes (401), Douglas (191), Gilliam (3), Grant (15), Harney (27), Hood River (37), Jackson (359), Jefferson (35), Josephine (128), Klamath (191), Lake (6), Lane (734), Lincoln (88), Linn (331), Malheur (92), Marion (809), Morrow (15), Multnomah (927), Polk (164), Sherman (1), Tillamook (28), Umatilla (162), Union (76), Wallowa (8), Wasco (85), Washington (938), Yamhill (207).
Deaths: OHA did not immediately release this information.
Hospitalizations: 1,125 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized, five fewer than Thursday. That number includes 176 in intensive care units, seven more than Thursday.
Vaccines: The state reported 2,093 people receiving first shots since Thursday.
Since it began: Oregon has reported 620,652 confirmed or presumed infections and 6,086 deaths, among the lowest per capita numbers in the nation. To date, the state has reported 7,166,885 vaccine doses administered, fully vaccinating 2,822,255 people and partially vaccinating 299,920 people.