PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As other states brace for a tough week ahead in the battle against the coronavirus, Oregon health officials are hoping the numbers here are on the downward trend. Despite more people testing positive for the virus in the state, models have been showing that the curve could be flattening.
Models continue to project that the situation in Oregon appears to be leveling out to some extent. Health experts said despite that prediction, they aren’t ready to call for an end to the stay-home order until more testing can be done.
“The situation in Oregon is less dire than it is in most other states,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, Deputy State Health Officer and Epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority.
It’s a piece of good news from the Pacific Northwest in what’s otherwise being called a “very sad week ahead” nationally.
“We may actually be closer to the peak than many other states,” said Jeanne. “We may start to see a decline in cases soon.”
Jeanne is one of the senior health advisers for the COVID-19 response in Oregon. He said the governor’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order has been working.
“It looks like we are actually seeing the beginning of a decline, but it may be too early to say that,” said Jeanne.
Governor Kate Brown was feeling so confident in what models are showing, she donated 140 of Oregon’s ventilators to New York on Saturday. Washington followed suit on Sunday when Governor Jay Inslee tweeted:
“We acted early,” said Jeanne. “We closed schools. We shut non-essential businesses, and we implemented the stay-at-home order sooner in the scope of our outbreak than most other states.”
Despite encouraging results, Jeanne said don’t expect for businesses to be open any time soon. According to him, testing capabilities must increase so people can be tested and tracked more efficiently before the floodgates are opened again.
“We need to be very careful at that point because there are still a lot of susceptible people,” said Jeanne. “We are going to have to have more testing and really good tracing of contacts and keep a close eye to make sure we are not having the same kind of outbreak starting to happen again throughout the state.”
Jeanne said OHA is also focused on helping medical providers get more person protective gear, or PPE. Masks, shields, gloves, and gowns are all still in short supply globally, and much-needed locally.