By Associated Press • 

Oregon health officials: More COVID-19 cases; limit social gatherings to 10

Editor's Note: Oregon and Yamhill County continued reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. See below for updated numbers.


Oregon health officials urged people Friday to limit indoor social gatherings to fewer than 10 people during the next three weeks as coronavirus cases in the state surge and reveal a “troubling” trend of exponential growth.

New projections by the Oregon Health Authority predict that if transmission of COVID-19 continues at the current pace, the estimated number of new daily, confirmed infections could reach anywhere from 1,100 to 3,600.

“Given these projections and the prognosis that they represent for our citizens, we are calling on Oregonians to take action, to help us bring down the spread of COVID-19 and get it under control so we can again bend the curve back down,” said Patrick Allen, the director of the Oregon Health Authority.

Oregon smashed its previous daily record for confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday with 389 new diagnoses and six deaths.

The case count on Friday increased 275 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total cases statewide to 11,454. There have been at least 232 deaths.

“If we don’t see dramatic changes in our infection rates, our trends will push Oregon into a very worrying situation,” Allen said.

Even at the current rate of daily cases health officials predict that Oregon will still have exponential growth in coronavirus cases.

“Today's projections show that we have reached a point where even if we saw a 10% reduction from current rates, we’d continue to see increases in case numbers," said Dean Sidelinger, the state epidemiologist. “In essence we are seeing the disease spreading more and more quickly.”

In addition, at this rate, daily hospitalizations could increase from 17 to 49 people during the coming weeks.

Health Officials said social gatherings are driving the increase in cases, not business reopenings — specifically pointing out cases linked to bachelor and bachelorette parties, multi-household gatherings and exercise classes.

Allen said in these types of situations people may feel safe and “let their guard down," but it could actually lead to a person becoming infected.

“There are many people indoors that are talking and laughing with friends, which perfectly normal behaviors, but behaviors that are more risky now because the spread of COVID,” Allen said.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.


Saturday, June 11 Update:

Oregon continued its record-setting trend of new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, while the statewide death toll was unchanged at 232, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

OHA reported 409 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, taking the state total to 11,851. However, some positive cases were added after being excluded in a transition of reporting systems on Thursday.

The state reported 15 new COVID-19 cases in Yamhill County, which would raise the county total to 194. However, Yamhill County’s own report on Saturday lists 191 total cases to date.

Counties with the high number of new cases reported Saturday were Multnomah, 99; Marion, 61; Washington, 55; Umatilla, 50; and Clackamas, 29.

OHA attributed the spread of cases in Oregon to an increase in social gatherings, particularly celebrations of families and friends. The state has tied outbreaks to exercise classes, a fraternity party and a bachelor party, the report said.

“While it is difficult not to celebrate these events as we have in the past,” stated the OHA release, “COVID-19 is spreading in our communities and people must think hard about altering daily routines that may put people at risk.”

The state urged limiting size of gatherings, maintaining distance from others, covering faces, and finding other ways for vulnerable people to participate.


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