PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority on Saturday said the state’s social distancing measures appear to be working when it comes to flattening the curve. The public health agency estimated that as many as 18,000 cases of the coronavirus have been prevented by stay-home and social distancing measures, citing a report with updated models and projections.

The latest model created by the Institute for Disease Modeling in Washington has a timeline extended into mid-May. Researchers used current infection, hospitalization, and death rates of COVID-19 in Oregon to model the projection of the virus until May 18.

The OHA said the current stay-home orders are preventing a “surge of new infections that could overwhelm hospital beds if left unchecked,” and used the model to estimate that as many as 500 hospitalizations have been prevented so far. As long as the public continues to follow these safety measures, the model predicts that the current infection rate will stay level into next month and then begin to slowly subside.

“Staying at home and maintaining physical distancing is difficult and has had serious economic impacts that have affected many people, but the data continue to show that Oregonians are saving lives by staying home,” said OHA State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger in a release. “The latest projections are more conservative than previous versions of the model because they account for variables such as longer hospital stays or the likelihood that COVID-19 has been in Oregon longer than we initially estimated. However, even these estimates, show we can slow new COVID-19 infections and ultimately begin to drive them down if we can sustain today’s social distancing measures.”

“These interventions are estimated to have reduced cumulative infections as of April 10th to approximately 7,000 from almost 25,000 in the absence of interventions,” the IDM report stated. While the most recent data from OHA shows 1,447 people in the state have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, researchers predict there are roughly “7,000 cases of active infection in Oregon at this time.”

Read the full report: