By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County’s positive test rate more than triples in a week

The percentage of positive tests for COVID-19 in Yamhill County shot from 5.8% on Dec. 20 to 21.7% on Dec. 27, and the county reported 100 new cases on Wednesday, Dec. 29, following a report of 87 new cases from Dec. 23 to 28.

The county also reported two deaths from November. A 55-year-old man tested positive Nov. 9 and died Nov. 27 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. An 80-year-old woman tested positive Oct. 21 and died Nov. 7 at her residence.

As of Wednesday, the county had seen a total to date of 10,448 cases and 157 deaths.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 3,585 new cases and 25 deaths on Monday, spanning the long Christmas weekend, 1,900 new cases and eight deaths on Tuesday and 2,331 new cases and nine deaths on Wednesday, for an average of more than 1,500 new cases per day.

In its weekly report released on Wednesday, for the week ending Dec. 26, the OHA said the state saw a 25% increase in new cases, despite a 7.1% drop in testing. The weekly rate of positive tests increased statewide, from 4.8% the previous week to 7.4% last week.

There were decreases in hospitalizations and deaths — which typically lag behind a surge in cases by a few weeks. Nationwide, however, pediatric hospitalizations from COVID-19 have increased 35%.

The media spokesmen for both Willamette Valley Medical Center and Providence Newberg did not respond to inquiries about whether that trend is being seen locally; automated messages indicated both were on vacation.

On Monday, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines for isolating after contracting COVID-19, to five days after testing positive, and then “if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.”

The change drew a storm of criticism from virologists and immunologists, although some health officials and business owners praised it. Many critics noted that the change was made just days after it was requested by airline CEOs who said the 10-day isolation policy was causing them disruptive staffing shortages.

The Association of Flight Attendants CWA released a statement in response, saying, “We said we wanted to hear from medical professionals on the best guidance for quarantine, not from corporate America advocating for a shortened period due to staffing shortages. … We cannot allow pandemic fatigue to lead to decisions that extend the life of the pandemic or put policies on the backs of workers.”

Much of the criticism was based on the agency’s decision not to require a negative antigen test before ending isolation, and instead relying on the willingness of infected people to wear masks at all times, and the lack of guidance on what type of mask they should wear.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that “It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate.”

She said the agency did not require people to test negative for COVID-19 because “we were not going to change our recommendation based on the results of that rapid test.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, told journalists that “if you are asymptomatic and you are infected we want to get people back to jobs — particularly those with essential jobs to keep our society running smoothly,” CNBC reported.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it would not implement the new guidelines until it had reviewed supporting evidence. The Oregon Health Authority had not yet issued a statement on the new guidelines by press time.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who served under the Trump administration, said on Twitter that the new policy “is about protecting the workforce — not what science says is best for health,”

He alleged that CDC officials “wouldn’t even follow it for their own families,” and advised people to obtain a negative antigen test before ending isolation, “if you can get one. If you can’t test out, either stay at home, or wear an N95.” 

“What people don’t understand (but need to) is that despite all this talk of Omicron being ‘milder,’ one-quarter as severe but five times as many infected still means we’re in big trouble. Math sucks,” Adams wrote.



Hey Antivaxers, can you please tell me what the survival rate is of a heart attack when the cardiologist is out sick with covid-19 and all the hospital beds are full with covid-19 patients?

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