4th of July ‘a perfect storm’ for COVID spike


Cases up significantly in Oregon, Washington, much of the US

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Right after Memorial Day there was a significant jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US, including both Oregon and Washington. Now with the 4th of July just days away, health officials are bracing for another spike.

The rise in new cases is traced to social gatherings as cities, states and regions reopened. Between June 22-28, the number of cases went up 11% from the previous week.

“We cannot attribute this recent increase to an increase in testing. It’s a real increase in cases,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak with the Oregon Health Authority. “If we can’t do better at this social distancing gathering thing, that’s something that we’re going to see. We’re going to see people being put out of work again.”

In Oregon, Thursday’s record-setting daily total of 375 new cases comes a day after state health officials warned the state was on track to meet a worst-case scenario of more than 900 cases per day.

“We know we have more COVID-19 activity in the community. Our numbers are going up, the percentage of tests that are positive are going up, which is a sign of how much is out there,” Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick said. “Then you mix July 4th — where people may not adhere to these recommendations — and we have a perfect storm.”

The Oregon Health Authority said hospitalizations have also started to rise again. Hospitals remain under capacity but there is concern that could change if the surge in cases continues.

“We can’t get behind the 8-ball on that one,” Cieslak said. “You know, if we wait until we’re at hospital capacity, you know, a week from now when we go through another doubling time of cases, we’re going to be way over hospital capacity.”

The age of people testing positive has also changed. In the beginning, cases were more prevalent in older adults, who are more likely to end up in the hospital. Now there’s an uptick in cases for people between 20-29 in both Oregon and Washington.

The Oregon Health Authority said, on average, people who test positive but don’t end up in the hospital take 20 days to recover. For those who get hospitalized the average recovery is about 25 days.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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