New model forecasts ‘exponential growth’ of transmitted coronavirus cases in Oregon


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New modeling shows an “exponential growth” of the number of future transmitted coronavirus cases in Oregon, with a worst-case scenario of more than 4,800 new cases a day by mid-July.

The modeling, which was released by the Oregon Health Authority on Friday morning based on data through June 18, shows three scenarios — one that is optimistic, another more moderate and one that is “pessimisic” — through July 16 and predicts that new case levels could rise as much as 20%, assuming that hospitalizations from COVID-19 and testing levels remains the same.

The pessimistic scenario suggests a rise in cases in the last modeling report was entirely due to transmission — not expanded testing — and that infections could top more than 5,000 a day total, with 82 hospitalizations per day, according to health officials.

The model’s moderate scenario portrays a rise in cases that are a result from increased transmission and expanded testing, and suggests daily infections could rise through mid-July to more than 900 a day.

Officials say its optimistic scenario is “the least likely” because it all cases are being diagnosed, and about one-third of all new infections are unable to be traced to a known source at this time.

The modeling comes out just over a week from the Fourth of July holiday, which Dr. Dean Sidelinger of the Oregon Health Authority warns could be a trigger for increased cases as residents plan for celebrations.

“”We know that COVID-19 is in our communities,” Sidelinger said in a statment. “This latest model provides us with a sobering reminder that we all need to guard against continued spread, especially as we continue to reopen and the weather gets warmer.”

Oregonians are asked to stay 6 feet away from others, wear a mask and avoid large gatherings. However, if residents are in a group setting, they’re asked to stay outside, keep distance away from others and use a mask when not eating, along with washing hands frequently and staying home if sick.

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