PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Health Authority officials urged Oregonians to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state during a phone briefing on Thursday.
OHA Director Patrick Allen and State Epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger both spoke during the briefing, saying the uptick in cases was concerning. They urged Oregonians to wear masks and avoid large gatherings.
Dr. Sidelinger addressed the question of supply shortages for testing, saying Oregon wants to prioritize tests for those with symptoms, direct contact to a confirmed case, or those living in congregant settings.
“While we continue to work with supply manufacturers and distributers to get more tests to Oregon, the supply simply doesn’t exist with all the demand, so we may need to look at prioritizing those who need them most,” he said.
In response to another question, Sidelinger said he did not believe any recent spike was connected to recent protests in downtown Portland.
On Monday, Governor Brown announced two new orders aimed to aggressively combat the increased spread of the coronavirus.
As of Thursday morning, Oregon has 13,081 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 247 deaths.
During the presser Monday, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said the new guidelines are a response to the gravity of the situation.
“The rate of COVID-19 transmission is accelerating,” Allen said. “New cases are expected to triple in the next six weeks. That means more people will get sick, many will become seriously ill, and the healthcare system is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.”
OHA’s Dr. Dean Sidelinger also weighed in the situation Oregonians face in the days ahead.
“Our modeling shows troubling scenarios,” Dr. Sidelinger said. “As of several weeks ago, we knew that if transmission did not begin to reduce, we’d rapidly see increasing infection numbers moving towards exponential growth.”
Sidelinger said the state’s efforts to get Oregonians to modify their behavior have not been good enough to keep the curve flattened.
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