By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County reports two COVID deaths

Yamhill County reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths on Wednesday, while the Oregon Health Authority’s weekly report said hospitalizations and deaths statewide had dropped for the first time in weeks.

A 64-year-old woman from Yamhill County who tested positive on Sept. 8 died Sept. 12 at Willamette Valley Medical Center. A 76-year-old man from Yamhill County who tested positive on Sept. 1 died Sept. 9 at Willamette Valley Medical Center.

As of Wednesday, the county has seen 7,182 cases and 96 deaths; it saw a 6.5% increase in cases last week.

The state saw half as many new hospitalizations for the week of Sept. 5-11, it said.

However, Region 2, the six-county hospital region that includes Yamhill County, had just four adult ICU beds available on Thursday, and 15 adult non-ICU beds; there were 91 occupied adult ICU beds, 709 occupied non-ICU beds.

The OHA weekly report said there was an 11% drop in new cases statewide last week; a 42% drop in new hospitalizations, and deaths decreased from 171 to 120.

But an email sent out to the local COVID coordination group warned that “We continue to see relatively large daily case numbers. This week we saw a small increase in cases compared to the previous week. … Many of these cases are related to schools, and we continue to see large numbers of kids having to be quarantined after school-/sports-related contacts.”

The state’s weekly outbreak report notes that “In addition to the facilities listed, OHA is aware of 299 congregate settings of five or fewer beds that have had three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more deaths.” However, it states, “Because foster homes typically have relatively few residents, OHA follows the Oregon Department of Human Services practice in not naming these locations to protect patient privacy.”

It says that three staff members of long-term care homes have died from COVID-19.

The report lists outbreaks at: Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg, first reported Aug. 3, six cases; Brookdale McMinnville Town Center, first reported Aug. 9, three cases; Prestige Post-Acute and Rehabilitation Center in McMinnville, first reported on Aug. 23, 30 cases; Parkland Village Senior Living, first reported Sept. 1, eight cases; Parkside Living, first reported Sept. 2, three cases; Brookdale Newberg Chehalem Springs, first reported Sept. 7, three cases; Marquis Newberg,first reported Aug. 9, seven cases.

It lists workplace outbreaks at the following:

n Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution, where the most recent investigation began on July 29; 30 cases; most recent onset Sept. 6.

n Cascade Steel in McMinnville; investigation began Aug. 31, 20 cases, most recent onset Sept. 6.

n Hampton Lumber Mills, Willamina, investigation began Aug. 10; 16 cases, most recent onset Sept. 6.

n Golden Valley Brewery, McMinnville, investigation began Aug. 19; seven cases; most recent onset Aug. 22.

n Noble Foods, McMinnville, investigation began Aug. 17; seven cases, most recent onset Aug. 18.

n Sawtooth Caulking, McMinnville, investigation began Aug. 17; seven cases, most recent onset Aug. 28.

n Yamhill County Public Works, McMinnville, investigation began Aug. 19, seven cases, most recent onset Aug. 20.

n Carlton Farms, Carlton, investigation began Aug. 5, five cases, most recent onset Aug. 23.

The state reports recent COVID-19 cases at Columbus Elementary School in McMinnville, one student, on Sept. 9; at Sheridan High School on Sept. 8, one student; at Willamina School District, three students, on Sept. 6; at Yamhill Carlton High School, one student on Sept. 4; and at Dayton Grade School, one staff member or volunteer, on Aug. 29.

Yamhill County Public Health has begun offering a table showing the number of breakthrough cases in the county per week, dating to July 19-25. For the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5, it said, 82.3% of new COVID-19 cases in the county were among people who were either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated; 17.7% were among people who were fully vaccinated. The county has not said how many — if any — of the 96 deaths in the county were from breakthrough cases.

Statewide, according to the Oregon Health Authority, 4.9%, or 798, known breakthrough cases have been hospitalized, and 0.9%, 145, have resulted in death.

Oregon sequenced 5.1% of tests for the week to determine which variant they are, which health officials said is enough to give them a good sense of which variants are circulating.

Of the tests sequenced, the report states, among variants considered “of concern”, 579 have been Delta variant; 140 have been Alpha variant, 46 Gamma variant, and 16 Beta variant. There have also been cases of two variants the OHA is designating “of interest”: Epsilon, which comprised 38 cases, and Iota, which comprised 29.

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