By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Dayton COVID surge continues; county likely to remain at 'extreme risk'


Yamhill County, listed as one of 21 counties at “extreme risk,” because of the high rate of COVID-19 transmissions, added 109 new cases from Saturday to Monday.

The county’s test positivity rate has increased, from 3% in late October, to 6.7% by mid-November, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Statewide, the virus set new records for daily increases over the past week, increasing by 34% over the previous week, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Last week also saw 61 deaths from the virus statewide, up from the 31 deaths the previous week.

Over the weekend, the Oregon Health Authority reported, there were 3,298 new cases of the virus, and 20 deaths.

Dayton continues to see a surge in cases, and has by far the highest rate of COVID-19 in the county, with 304.5 cases per 10,000 as of Monday. A total 145 cases have been logged by the county in Dayton’s zip code as of Monday. On Nov. 2, that total was 64. Over the four weeks, the county as a whole went from 1,047 cases to 1,756.   

Dayton Mayor Beth Wytoski last week expressed frustration with the behavior of some residents during a weekly elected officials’ Zoom discussion.

“We had spikes right after Halloween that have been traced to house parties,” she said.

Wytoski told the News-Register that people have held or attended birthday parties and other social gatherings, sometimes despite having mild symptoms of illness.

“I don’t think anyone is intentionally infecting anybody, just not necessarily following public health guidelines for slowing the spread,” Wytoski said. “A few residents have suggested that this is good as it will lead to herd immunity quicker ... (but) I have no reason to believe that this is a widespread perspective.”

Gov. Kate Brown announced last week the framework for COVID-related restrictions once the two-week freeze ends Wednesday. Extreme risk counties are those with more than 200 cases per 100,000 over 14 days. The state reported 167 cases in Yamhill County over the first seven days of the current two-week measuring period. Most restrictions from the “freeze” will remain in place; however, bars and restaurants can reopen for limited outdoor dining and tasting starting on Thursday. 

New outbreaks in county longterm care facilities were reported in November: Marjorie House Memory Care was reported on November 10 with four cases so far, and Parkland Village on Nov. 17, with three cases so far.

In workplace outbreaks in the county, new cases also were reported. The most recent one at Skyline Homes in McMinnville, which has had 26 associated cases total, was reported on Nov. 15.

At World Class Technology, which has had 16 associated cases, the most recent was Nov. 16. At A-dec in Newberg, which has had nine cases so far, the most recent was reported on Nov. 16.

Associated cases may included household members and “other close contacts” of infected workers.

The OHA reports only workplace outbreaks at businesses with at least 30 employees, and five or more cases.



Just curious why COVID counts are reported and published from some employers in the Yamhill area but have yet to see any counts reported from the biggest employers in Mac, Linfield University, McMinnville School District, and Cascade Steel?


I live in Dayton, and don't know anyone with covid.., (in town or out of town!!!) I've been in Dayton for almost 20 years


Saganfan: Can't speak to others, but Linfield posts a weekly public report at So far, 17 cases have been logged on the McMinnville campus.


To anyone out there still minimizing COVID, consider this:
Death toll in Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was 2,403.
Death toll in 911 attacks in New York and D.C. was 2,977.
National COVID death toll from the single day of Dec. 3 was 2,857, pushing total to date past 267,000.
Tells a powerful story, I think.


Additional food for thought: According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, COVID-19 was ranked as the leading cause of death in the U.S. this week. Until two weeks ago I didn't know anyone who had the virus either but as of today three people in my circle are battling the disease. I don't go out often, but when I do I am deeply grateful that my fellow Yamhill citizens are wearing masks. Thank you all!

Nicole Montesano

Saganfan7, the workplace outbreak information is from the Oregon Health Authority. I have not, so far, seen reports on outbreaks at Cascade Steel or the McMinnville school district, so they have not been mentioned. I'll add the Linfield information this week.


**CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2018–2019 season included an estimated 35.5 million people getting sick with influenza,

**Thursday the U.S. recorded its 14 millionth COVID-19 case,(as in last Thursday the 3rd)

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