PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The number of COVID-19 cases is once again rising across the state, affirming what top health experts have told the public for months: despite a collective fatigue, the pandemic is not yet over.
The latest numbers reported from the Oregon Health Authority showed a slight rise in cases. OHA’s biweekly COVID report, released Thursday, comes amid growing fears of another surge from the new, highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant.
Health officials looked at numbers from a two-week period from late June to early July and compared the rate of new COVID cases to that of the previous two weeks.
From June 26 to July 8, Oregon recorded 21,484 new cases. Researchers noted this was a 5.3% increase over the previous two weeks’ total in the state of 20,410 cases.
The rise in cases was “probably attributable to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants,” OHA said in the report, noting the variants are making up a majority of new infections.
BA.5 is not only more contagious than what Americans have dealt with before, health officials said, but it is better at evading the protection that comes from vaccines and having had the virus before.
OHA also recently reported that the month of June saw nearly 46,000 breakthrough infections — when those who are vaccinated become infected with the virus. Breakthrough cases constituted 56.5% of those reported in June, however health officials cautioned that because vaccinated people often experience little to no symptoms — and therefore don’t seek out tests — the true number is unknown.
According to the latest breakthrough report, just 2.6% of all vaccine breakthrough cases have been hospitalized though, and 0.6% have died. The average age of vaccinated people who died is 80. Read the full report here.
The amount of COVID tests that came back positive inched upward, climbing from 13.6% to 15.1% over the same two-week period, OHA reported Thursday.
OHA said the state has seen a limited increase in hospitalizations over the past six weeks, but deaths have declined slightly. Health officials have previously noted though that deaths from the disease should be considered a “lagging indicator,” meaning that they follow behind waves of cases.