By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

COVID-19 increased 34% in Oregon last week; daily cases surpass 800

Cases of COVID-19 continued to spike in Oregon, as they did across the nation, last week. The Oregon Health Authority said in its weekly report on Wednesday that cases in the state increased 34% over the previous week, between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1.

It was, the OHA noted, “the second consecutive week daily case counts set a record high for the pandemic.”

Thursday set yet another record, with 805 new cases reported for the state. The previous record was 600. The increase brought the state’s total to 47,839. There were also five new deaths reported, bringing that total to 710.

Yamhill County added 17 new cases on Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 1,088. 

Eight of the new cases reported Thursday were from McMinnville, which has a total 544 cases and 150.5 per 10,000 people, both highs for the county. 
Governor Kate Brown said she would hold a press conference today about the state’s response.

“COVID-19 is spreading in Oregon at an unprecedented rate, driven in no small measure by in-person, indoor social gatherings. You are most likely to get COVID-19 from your family and friends,” Brown said.

Brown said that “lives are at stake,” and promised to take action to control the spread.

“Let me be clear: we cannot allow this disease to continue to spread so rapidly in our communities,” she said. “Oregonians have made tremendous sacrifices to help each other throughout this pandemic, which is why Oregon has done relatively better than many other states ... I need Oregonians to continue to do their part.”

Nationwide, the disease is also rising quickly, with 9.4 million confirmed cases, and more than 233,800 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Research Center.

Testing continues to increase in Oregon, but so does the rate at which people are testing positive, as transmission rates increase.

The OHA said 32,337 people were tested during the week of Oct. 25 to Oct. 31, 32,337. The rate of positive tests rose significantly, to 8.5%.

Testing rose another 10% the week of Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, and the positivity rate was 8.4%.

Tracking testing rates over the course of the pandemic is crucial, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Research Center, because it helps health officials assess how broad the reach of the virus is in the community, information they need to devise public policies in response.

According to Johns Hopkins, Oregon is testing about 1.4 people per 1,000, and the rate of testing is trending upwards.

The number of deaths and hospitalizations also increased in Oregon; the state reported 37 deaths from the virus, compared to 27 the previous week, and 160 people hospitalized.

There have been 15 deaths in the county, and 47 people are known to have been hospitalized, while the status of another 153 is unknown, according to the Public Health Department’s daily update.

The county reports that there have been 22,523 people in the county who have tested negative, to date. Of the cases reported, 1,067 have a confirmed test result, and 21 are presumptive.

Presumptive cases are people who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms after having close contact with a confirmed case, but who have not yet been tested.
The Health Authority is urging Oregonians to get their flu shots, to avoid having cases of influenza and COVID-19 surging at the same time.

It is recommending that people avoid social gatherings, wear masks, and maintain social distancing.

It also recommends covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then washing your hands; staying home when sick, and washing hands frequently, with soap and water.

It is telling Oregonians that this year, during the holidays, “staying home is the safest way to avoid exposing yourself and others to COVID-19.”


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