PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been three weeks since the masks have come off, and cases have gone down everywhere in Oregon.

Dr. Peter Graven, director of advanced analytics at OHSU, says that cases are at a low point in Oregon right now. There may be some increases, but he does not expect large ones.

“You may hear that I don’t sound too worried about it, that’s because I’m not too worried, because we have a lot of immunity that’s built up over time and that’s going to prevent this from becoming a big wave that we saw previously,” Graven said.

Graven also said that preventing deaths are hospital’s top priority and that a hospital stay usually precedes death from COVID-19.

“We only have so many hospital beds in Oregon, which happens to be the lowest number per capita in the country, so Oregon has always had a unique path it’s had to be on because we don’t have the ability to flex out and have a whole bunch of extra people in the hospital every day,” Graven said.

According to Graven, COVID isn’t following a full seasonal pattern yet, so he believes that the state will likely have a mild increase of B.A2, which is the new dominant variant and feels similar to Omicron when one is infected.

When asked if new variants are on track with becoming less viral and more endemic, Graven said that playing the long game can be hard to understand at this point.

“Omicron did follow the pattern of being more transmissible, milder and that’s something that viruses have a tendency towards. But on the other hand the virus is trying to find ways to escape your immunity,” Graven said.

Graven stated that if the state doesn’t see a big rise in cases over the next few weeks, then maybe masks weren’t slowing the spread as much as we thought and that’s something to learn from. He also said that he believes that masks did help because at Oregon’s peak Omicron levels were still lower than other places.