SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday there were 597 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Oregon has now surpassed 47,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. The death toll is 705.
Wednesday’s count is three cases short of the the state’s daily record — 600 cases, which was recorded at the end of October.
In mid-October, the health authority released modeling that predicted if transmission continued at the current level at the time, then by Nov. 5 the number of new daily infections would increase from 1,300 to 2,200 and that 570 cases would be diagnosed daily.
So far, in the first four days of November, Oregon is averaging about 551 new cases a day.
In addition, based on the Oregon Health Authorities mid-October predictions the number of new hospitalizations related to COVID-19 would increase to 40 a day.
While the number of Wednesday’s new hospitalizations was not readily available, as of Nov. 2 — the most recent data available — there were 181 Oregonians who tested positive for COVID-19 and hospitalized, a record number according to the Oregon Health Authority’s dashboard. The previous record was 168 patients in July.
Of the COVID-19 patients most recently listed, 54 people were in intensive care units and 26 people were on ventilators.
Recently, health experts have expressed concerns about “nearing” hospitalization capacity in the state.
Currently 23% of staffed adult-beds in intensive care units are available and 15% of non-ICU beds.
If hospitals in Oregon were to reach capacity, officials at the health authority said facilities could postpone elective procedures, use hospital beds or wings that are currently unused, add staffing capacity to their inpatient unit or transfer patients to other hospitals, including ones out of state if available.
People 60 years or older account for 90% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon. People 80 years or older account for 50% of the state’s coronavirus deaths.
Out of the four newly reported deaths Wednesday, three of the people were 80 or older.
Officials have attributed the rise in COVID-19 cases to Labor Day gatherings, the return of college students to campus, the interruption of testing during recent wildfires in Oregon and “small clusters” of outbreaks across the state.
Workplace outbreaks remain prevalent as well.
The Health Authority reported Wednesday an outbreak of 39 cases linked to a Fred Meyer Distribution Center in Clackamas County.
Despite the increase the governor and health authority have implemented few new safety measures. In October officials at the Oregon Health Authority announced that face-covering requirements were being expanded to include all private and public workspaces, outdoor markets and colleges.
In the past Gov. Kate Brown has discussed more stringent measures that could include travel restrictions or closing the doors of businesses again. However health officials said at the end of October that the current focus is educating Oregonians the necessity of physically distancing, wearing a mask and limiting social gatherings ahead of the holiday season.
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.