By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Yamhill County sees biggest one day COVID increase to date

County Commissioners extended the county’s emergency declaration Thursday, and voted to send a letter to Gov. Kate Brown seeking justification for all renewals of the statewide emergency declaration enacted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

At the request of County Administrator Ken Huffer, they also extended the county’s telework policy to Sept. 1, or the end of the state emergency declaration, whichever comes first.

Of the 109 cases, Public Health said 103 are confirmed, and six presumptive, meaning they show symptoms and have been in contact with a confirmed case, but do not yet have a confirmed case.

Three of the new cases are among people 19 or younger, two are in their 30s and one each is in their 50s or 60s. Four were recorded in the McMinnville zip code, and at least two in the Dayton zip code, but because areas with fewer than five cases are not reported by number, it is not clear whether some were in other areas of the county.

The Oregon Health Authority reported in its weekly report Wednesday that the state again saw a 40% increase in new cases over the previous week.

“The daily number of new infections again achieved new highs in Oregon since the emergence of COVID-19,” the report states.

However, it said, there is some encouraging news. “Available evidence suggests average severity of illness among reported cases is lower than it was early in the outbreak: hospitalizations and deaths remain well below their peaks, even after reported cases have been surging for 4 weeks, and the percentage of emergency department visits attributable to COVID-19-like symptoms remains below 1%.”

There are currently 189 hospitalized patients believed to have COVID-19; of those, 95 have been confirmed. There are 23 patients with COVID-19 on ventilators in the state, and another six believed to have the virus.

The Oregon Health Authority said the state saw an increase in the percentage of positive tests, from 3.1% the previous week to 3.7%, but also increased the amount of testing it is doing by 25%.

“Taken together, these data suggest that while underlying COVID-19 incidence has likely increased somewhat … increased availability and application of testing has increased the proportion of COVID-19 infections that are diagnosed,” it said.

Oregon reported 124 new cases Thursday, and two more deaths.

There have now been 7,294 confirmed cases in the state, as well as 274 presumptive cases, and 197 deaths.

The Oregon Health Authority sent a news release Wednesday, reminding the public that wearing a face covering “is one of the most effective things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” and masks are now required for indoor public spaces in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Marion, Polk, Hood River and Lincoln counties.

Yamhill County Commissioner-elect Lindsay Berschauer, meanwhile, posted a message on Facebook urging people to lobby current commissioners against extending the mandate to Yamhill County.

“There is a strong push by your local elected officials to ask that the Governor include our county in that mix,” Berschauer wrote. “I have several concerns about this, namely that the OHA (Oregon Health Authority) does NOT recommend face masks for persons with disabilities, children under 12, or persons with medical conditions.

“Anecdotally, my father who would be considered an ‘at-risk’ person, wore an N95 mask recently and reported that it was difficult for him to breathe. He could not wear the mask for a long period of time.”

Berschauer questioned how the mandate would be enforced, and asked, “Does this mean residents with asthma will be denied service in our businesses?”

The Oregon Health Authority guidance on the mandate specifies that face shields, clear plastic shields that cover the entire face, are acceptable alternatives to cloth or paper masks.

It also specifies that children younger than 12 are exempted from the requirement, and that it also does not apply to those who have “a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe when wearing a mask, face shield, or face covering,” or a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a mask.

The guidance also states children younger than 2 should not cover their faces, but that children from 2-12 should wear a face covering “at all times” in places like grocery stores or pharmacies, where it is likely that physical distancing cannot be maintained.

 

Comments

Jim

It’s the same 25 people on every social media platform in the world trying to make this county mandatory for masks. If they want to kill local business this will be the quickest way to do it. People will start buying online and not going out to dinner. We are still a very small percentage of cases and deaths in this county so I don’t see the need for it. It’s time to live our lives.

aim

how will masks kill businesses?
it seems to be the same 25 people arguing that masks don’t work, isn’t it?

Rotwang

That must be why the pro-mask arguments have basically vanished for me. I think that I have blocked them all.

tagup

Is there a reasonable argument for not wearing a mask in public during a pandemic?....Claiming the “right” to expose other citizens to disease seems a bit silly...

Hibb

aim - local businesses will suffer because people prefer to not wear a mask and will not patronize these businesses unless they absolutely need to.

Jim - In reviewing the numbers and considering that the availability and quality of testing has promoted higher numbers, in addition to what the CDC says about how millions went undetected in the onset of all of this, one can see that it isn't as bad or lethal as we are being led to believe. And before anyone tries to obfuscate the situation, let me add that in the early days of this pandemic that anyone who died was erroneously labeled as COVID-19 Deaths even when they weren't. Some doctors reported that they were commanded to change the cause of death and when they wouldn't, it was changed for them.

Rotwang - Good for you!

tagup - Masks don't prevent one from receiving this virus and only work in a limited fashion in helping to curb the transmission I thereof. Wearing one is my option. Even in the liberal stronghold of Portland they will NOT be enforcing Gov. Brown's edict. Let's not get caught in all the hubbub, rumors and insinuations that have only served to induce fear among the public

Rumpelstilzchen

Serious arguments can be had about restrictions that actually restrict people’s freedom of movement and ways to make a living, but this fight over the face masks is as ridiculous as a fight over the right to run a red light.

And the fact that our newly elected commissioner makes a big deal about this doesn’t bode well. We can likely look forward to more years of huffing and puffing that’s more politically motivated than practical.

Katie2

Berschauer again displays her lack of insight and politically motivated comments. If she took even half a look at what the OHA guidance, the issues that she raises are already addressed in their advice. This has more to do with her wanting to take a swipe at Olsen and Kulla then it does at anything else. Time to stop campaigning and start dealing with facts.

Treehouse

It won't "just go away".

Start with that.

The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy recently estimated that the mean cost for a COVID-19 hospitalization was $14,336. Many employer provided plans have opted out of waving co-pay and deductibles. And the large insurers who have agreed to waive are only doing so for a limited time. As people continue to become infected and require expensive treatment to recover, more and more of them will be saddled with huge bills. And the waivers do not apply to long term expenses associated with organ and system damage resulting from these infections requiring ongoing treatment which can last for years.

We can not afford to be short sighted about this. We have no way of knowing if or when a vaccine will ever be available. And if we don't take the steps needed to limit the spread the economic consequences could easily eclipse what we are currently experiencing.

Bizzyditchaz

Many businesses are GREAT at take out during these times and we have tried at least twice a week to grab take out, with a mask. ALWAYS with a mask in public! Picking up dinner or even the store isn't a huge amount of time to be masked. What is with all these excuses!? "Commissioner-elect" is stoking irresponsible behaviors which WILL cause a spike that could be avoided by thinking of this county as a vulnerable community instead of what I call Soveriegn Selfishness! Our greatest weakness is the illusion of individual freedom when a community is stronger on the same page. Why is it political to protect each other?

carolsm

Hibb: You say "wearing [a mask] is my option." So, do I need to look out for you at red lights because stopping at one interferes with your freedom?

madmacs

A significant increase in Covid-19 illnesses will have a negative economic impact. Wearing masks in public is a way to protect both each other and the economy. There simply isn't any rational reason to not do so right now.

Motherof3

Based on the information I have read, we have seen a 400 % increase in testing. Both deaths and hospitalizations continue to plummet. Statistically the numbers of people dying from suicide still surpass any COVID 19 deaths. The devastation of another shut down or closing businesses will cause lasting issues to include increase in child abuse, domestic violence and suicides. We need to look at all the stats.

I want to thank News Register for breaking down the confirmed/vs presumptive. I truly appreciate that.

Megan

And then just a few days later, we beat it with a 8 new cases. We're going in the wrong direction.