SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Over the span of three days — Saturday, Sunday and Monday — officials from the Oregon Health Authority have reported more than 1,600 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.
The rise in case numbers, transmission and positivity rate have been occurring in Oregon since mid-September. As of Monday, the state’s total COVID-19 case count, since the start of the pandemic, has reached 45,978. The death toll is 692.
In another sign that the numbers are going the wrong way, on Saturday authorities reported that 14 people in the state had died from COVID-19, matching the highest death toll reported in a single day as the state struggles to contain the coronavirus.
Most recent data from the health authority, released last week, shows that Oregon’s positivity rate remains at 6.5%.
For six weeks, Oregon’s COVID-19 cases were in a downward trend until mid-September. Since then, officials warned that numbers were again increasing at an alarming rate.
During October, Oregon has reached grim COVID-19 milestones including the state’s largest daily case count since the start of the pandemic — 600 — surpassed 600 deaths and reached 40,000 confirmed cases.
On Monday, the state reported 557 new cases and one death. Most of the cases, nearly 200, were in Multnomah — the state’s most populous county and home to Portland.
Multnomah is one of four counties — the others being Lane, Malheur and Umatilla — that have been placed on the state’s County Watch List.
The watch list was created to help the state prioritize resources and assistance to areas that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19.
When a county is placed on the list, the Oregon Health Authority increases monitoring and communication, and deploys additional technical assistance and resources, such as epidemiological support, case investigation and contact tracing help, officials said.
Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.