Nearly 9,800 new virus cases as omicron tightens ‘grip on Oregon’

Coronavirus

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The omicron variant is continuing “to tighten its grip on Oregon,” health officials said Thursday as they announced nearly 9,800 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 amid an ongoing surge.

During Thursday’s press conference, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said testing for the virus is essential in slowing the spread, “but the United States has struggled to deliver adequate testing.

“Today, a COVID-19 test remains a scarce commodity across the United States, and it’s no different in Oregon,” he continued.

In total, 9,797 new cases were reported as of Thursday. Another 25 new COVID-19 related deaths were also reported, bringing the state’s death toll to 5,870.

Meanwhile, the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon has risen to 777, which is 21 more than yesterday. There are 144 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds. This means 5% of adult ICU beds are still available, with 6% of adult non-ICU beds available.

With a historic surge sending cases skyrocketing throughout the state, Oregonians can expect demand for tests to “remain sky-high for several more weeks” he said. Even so, health officials said Oregon is performing more tests now than ever.

“Our testing volume will only increase as millions of at-home, rapid antigen tests continue to arrive in our state,” Allen said.

Oregon received 589,680 test kits last week — the vast majority of which were sent directly to 37 hospitals across the state — and nearly 1 million more test kits arrived in the state over the weekend, according to OHA.

“We’re distributing these tests to hospitals and schools, local public health authorities and tribal governments, community-based organizations that serve communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, head-start programs, organizations that serve agricultural workers and organizations that serve the homeless,” Allen said.

On Jan. 5, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said his state’s residents will be able to order tests for delivery to their home through a web portal by mid-January. Unlike Washington however, Allen said OHA does not plan to have any such general distribution program for Oregonians.

“Instead, we want to make sure tests are available to people like a nurse in the hospital, a grocery store clerk who has limited if any sick time, a head-start teacher whom a dozen families entrust their children to every day, a worker at a seafood processing plant who’s working alongside others on the line — all of whom have families that depend on their hourly wages,” he said.

Oregonians could still receive tests through the federal government’s retail test delivery plan, Allen said, but Oregon will not have a similar supplementary program.

If Oregonians feel sick but can’t secure a test for themselves, health officials told them to “assume your symptoms are COVID-19,” but only to isolate themselves from others for five days. If the symptoms aren’t there after five days and there is no fever, people can return to their normal routines, officials said.

Regardless, OHA officials urged everyone to continue to wear masks.

Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill and Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and epidemiologist also spoke at the event.

Gill acknowledged a series of school closures across the state brought on from COVID-19 causing staffing shortages. He said while it’s the state’s priority to keep classes in person, “we must set our COVID fatigue aside” and again embrace safety measures like testing, quarantine and isolation protocols.

“We’ve asked a lot of our educators, of our students, and of our families these past two years,” Gill said. “The current surge is pushing a stressed system to its limits.”

Officials from the Oregon Department of Human Services said they are working on expanding long-term care facilities, hospice services and post-hospital care centers to alleviate congestion in overwhelmed hospitals.

As of Wednesday, OHA reported Oregon’s seven-day average of new cases reached 7,618, a 128% increase over the previous week.

OHA reported 8,760 new and presumptive COVID cases on Wednesday, continuing to inch the state total to nearly a half-million.

As cases continue climbing, state and health officials are implementing initiatives to try to decrease the spread.

Oregon hospitals are implementing the new isolation guidelines set out by the CDC to maintain adequate staffing levels. Health officials now recommend health care workers isolate for five days before returning to work, even if they have mild symptoms.

Gov. Kate Brown redeployed more than 1,200 National Guard members to overwhelmed hospitals across the state. Brown also set a goal to have 1 million Oregonians injected with the booster by the end of January.

OHA announced Wednesday 676,870 more people need to get their booster dose to reach that goal.

Confirmed and presumptive cases by county

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (28), Benton (325), Clackamas (875), Clatsop (97), Columbia (97), Coos (130), Crook (73), Curry (22), Deschutes (671), Douglas (233), Gilliam (1), Grant (11), Harney (6), Hood River (27), Jackson (505), Jefferson (113), Josephine (125), Klamath (122), Lake (1), Lane (686), Lincoln (85), Linn (307), Malheur (46), Marion (862), Morrow (54), Multnomah (1,877), Polk (220), Sherman (1), Tillamook (39), Umatilla (267), Union (31), Wallowa (15), Wasco (79), Washington (1,512) and Yamhill (253).

Newly reported COVID-related deaths

Oregon’s 5,846th COVID-19-related death is an 81-year-old woman from Linn County who tested positive Sept. 17 and died Dec. 5 at her residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,847th COVID-19-related death is an 84-year-old man from Lane County who tested positive Oct. 29 and died Dec. 5 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,848th COVID-19-related death is a 75-year-old woman from Multnomah County who tested positive Jan. 28, 2021 and died Dec. 4, 2021 at her residence. The death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,849th COVID-19-related death is a 72-year-old woman from Umatilla County who tested positive Nov. 27 and died Dec. 4 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,850th COVID-19-related death is a 72-year-old woman from Linn County who tested positive Nov. 20 and died Dec. 4 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,851st COVID-19-related death is a 90-year-old woman from Linn County who tested positive Oct. 8 and died Dec. 4 at her residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,852nd COVID-19-related death is a 75-year-old woman from Columbia County who tested positive Nov. 12  and died Dec. 3 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,853rd COVID-19-related death is an 87-year-old man from Clackamas County who tested positive Sept. 30 and died Dec. 3 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,854th COVID-19-related death is a 97-year-old woman from Clackamas County who tested positive August 25 and died Dec. 3 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,855th COVID-19-related death is a 74-year-old woman from Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 27 and died Dec. 2 at Adventist Health Portland. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,856th COVID-19-related death is a 99-year-old man from Deschutes County who tested positive Oct. 22 and died Dec. 2 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,856th COVID-19-related death is a 99-year-old man from Deschutes County who tested positive Oct. 22 and died Dec. 2 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,857th COVID-19-related death is a 92-year-old man from Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 24 and died Dec. 2 at Providence Portland Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,858th COVID-19-related death is a 73-year-old man from Lincoln County who tested positive Oct. 16 and died Dec. 1 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,859th COVID-19-related death is a 73-year-old woman from Linn County who tested positive Nov. 13 and died Dec. 1 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,860th COVID-19-related death is a 40-year-old woman from Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 16 and died Dec. 1 at Adventist Health Portland. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,861st COVID-19-related death is a 90-year-old man from Union County who tested positive Dec. 31 and died Jan. 10 at Grande Ronde Hospital. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,862nd COVID-19-related death is an 82-year-old woman from Tillamook County who tested positive Dec. 25 and died Jan. 2 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,863rd COVID-19-related death is a 55-year-old woman from Tillamook County who tested positive Dec. 21 and died Jan. 11 at Adventist Health Portland. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,864th COVID-19-related death is a 52-year-old man from Marion County who tested positive Jan. 7 and died Jan. 7 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,865th COVID-19-related death is a 39-year-old man from Lane County who tested positive Jan. 5, 2021 and died Jan. 11, 2022 at PeaceHealth Sacred Health Medical Center at RiverBend. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,866th COVID-19-related death is a 79-year-old man from Jackson County who tested positive Dec. 28 and died Jan. 11 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,867th COVID-19-related death is a 69-year-old woman from Douglas County who tested positive Nov. 26 and died Jan. 11 at Mercy Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,868th COVID-19-related death is a 76-year-old woman from Douglas County who tested positive Sept. 22 and died Dec. 10 at her residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 5,869th COVID-19-related death is a 91-year-old man from Yamhill County who tested positive Dec. 30 and died Jan. 9 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 5,870th COVID-19-related death is a 25-year-old woman from Washington County who tested positive Dec. 31 and died Jan. 3 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

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