SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health authorities reported Saturday that 14 more people in the state have died from COVID-19, matching the highest death toll reported in a single day as the state struggles to contain the coronavirus.
The latest deaths occurred from Sept. 26, when an 80-year-old died woman in her home, through Friday, when a 66-year-old woman died at a hospital in Bend.
With the state’s total known virus death toll reaching 689, officials tried to get trick-or-treaters to wait until next year to celebrate Halloween.
“Dan and I look forward to greeting all our favorite trick-or-treaters next year,” Gov. Kate Brown tweeted, referring to her husband and posting a photo of a pumpkin with the words “Wear a mask” carved into it.
Authorities noted it is hard to keep 6 feet of distance when trick-or-treaters gather at doors, that handing out candy puts people in close contact, and frequently touched surfaces like candy bowls and door knobs could have the virus on them.
The Oregon Health Authority on Saturday also reported 555 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, a day after announcing a record 600 additional cases. Fourteen deaths were also reported on July 28.
In another sign that the numbers are going the wrong way, last week marked the highest weekly tally of COVID-19 infections recorded in Oregon, with 2,642 new cases reported from Oct. 19, through Oct. 25.
The total confirmed coronavirus cases in Oregon, which has a population of 4.2 million, stood at 44,921 on Saturday.
Asked why in some cases there was a weeks’ long delay in the health authority reporting deaths, spokeswoman Delia Hernandez said the OHA is working to improve the data collection process.
“Information is processed by several individuals, and somewhere along the chain, delays or errors happen,” Hernandez said.