By Associated Press • 

Oregon health officer: Spike in virus cases can be averted

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — As the COVID-19 pandemic claims a record number of jobs, Oregon's health officer shared good news Thursday: Modeling shows the state won't see a huge rise in cases as long as stay-at-home orders are heeded.

Dean Sidelinger, a state epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority, also said in a video conference with journalists that the rise in cases should be manageable.

“The latest update on the models that came to us from our partners in Washington state is that it appears that we will not see a dramatic spike in cases over the next month here in Oregon, that the cases will rise slowly and rise slow enough that our hospital systems should be able to care for the people who get who get sick (and) should be able to provide the critical care for those who are most sick, "Sidelinger said.

He added that this positive outcome depends on everyone heeding the governor’s orders to stay home and on health care providers having personal protective equipment.

"And if we can accomplish those things, we are cautiously optimistic that here in Oregon, the cases seem to be rising at a level that we’ll be able to care for the people who need it most,” the Oregon Health Authority official said.

Modelling carried out by the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Washington, using information from cases in Oregon, shows the social distancing and stay-at-home orders in Oregon are already having a result, with transmission of infections cut by 50 to 70 percent, Sidelinger said.

The OHA reported Thursday that two more people died in Oregon of COVID-19, raising the state’s death toll to 21, and 90 new cases of the illness brought the statewide total to 826. Many of those people were likely infected two or more weeks ago.

“I think those numbers will stay up for a little while before we actually see them come down,” Sidelinger said, adding that greater testing capacity is identifying more people who test positive.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.




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