PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite Gov. Kate Brown pausing the reopening of Oregon for 7 days — freezing every county in the state in the phase they currently are — state health officials said there are some good signs.
There has been an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent days, largely attributed to workplace outbreaks, more testing and increased contact tracing.
But the good news is that emergency room visits at hospitals for COVID-like illnesses are below 1%, and only 22% of cases cannot be traced to an exposure.
Friday, the Oregon Health Authority released its latest model with projections about the spread of the coronavirus. “In all scenarios…recent data and model calibration show transmission has increased since reopening began on May 15.”
Health officials continue to say what they’ve been saying: continue physical distancing, wash your hands and wear face masks.
The state cited an increase in hospitalizations as one of the reasons they couldn’t move Multnomah County to Phase 1, said county health officer Dr. Jennifer Vines.
“What we are seeing now is viral transmission that happened days or weeks ago, where we’ve been and where we are going,” Vines said. “The state has not specifically said what we need to do to particularly change in the next week.”
Dr. Pat Allen, the director of the Oregon Health Authority, said new hospitalizations are a telling measure of how we’re doing, “yet because of the lagging factor it tells us of infections that happened many days ago. not what’s happening right now.”
Allen also said it’s not yet clear if people who attended recent demonstrations are connected to the increase in COVID-19 cases, but more information should be available in the coming days.
Multnomah County officials said that, as of this time, fewer than 5 confirmed cases have been reported from people who were at one of the demonstrations.
The county will continue to do contact tracing, increase testing and reach out to communities of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Multnomah County has a drive-through testing site at East County Health Center. The free testing is generally reserved for symptomatic residents., with an emphasis on BIPOC residents. No one will be turned away because of their immigration status or because they lack insurance coverage. That site will also see people who have participated in a demonstration and have symptoms.