PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The latest COVID-19 modeling scenarios from the Oregon Health Authority show the coronavirus “has the potential to continue to keep increasing in its spread.”
The 3 new scenarios — the rate stays the same, goes up by 5% or dips by 10% — show a variety of possibilities in the near future:
- Transmission remains at current level for several weeks: New infections would increase from 1300 to 2200, with daily reported cases up to 570, hospitalizations increase to 40 each day and the reproductive rate would stay at 1.15
- Transmission increases 5%: Daily infections would jump to 3400, with 740 daily reported cases and hospitalizations up to 48 per day. The reproductive rate would be 1.30
- Transmission drops by 10%: There would be about 1400 daily infections with 290 reported cases. Hospitalizations would fall to 20 per day and the reproduction rate would fall to 0.88.
“Once again COVID-19 is surging in Oregon. Six weeks ago we marked the end of a promising and significant downturn in daily cases,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said Friday. “Since that time cases have risen by nearly 25%.”
Allen said the current case numbers and hospitalizations are similar to late July and early August, and that the positivity rate is “also at the highest point since the earliest days of our testing program, when we were testing many fewer people.”
Hospital capacity data for the tri-county area shows 295 ICU beds are occupied and only 54 are available. But unlike at the beginning of the pandemic, OHA said hospitals have the ability to add more beds if necessary.
“That said, we are on a track that we would rather not be on, which is hospitalizations increasing,” Allen said.
The reproductive rate above 1.0 means that one infected person is infecting more than one other person, he said.
“As we study our data, one trend stands out: social gatherings continue to be a forceful driver of this surge,” Allen said.
Social distancing, wearing masks and handwashing are still the keys, officials said again.
“I think people are really focused on my kid or myself and what are the chances that I’ll have a bad outcome, I’m willing to take that risk,” Allen said. “People, I think, really still are not thinking about the risk of giving it to others who are vulnerable.”
OHA also recommends getting a flu shot so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with flu and COVID patients. Health officials added their is absolutely no evidence that getting a flu shot could cause people to be more susceptible to COVID-19.
Friday daily tally
A total of 418 new confirmed/presumptive COVID cases were recorded in Oregon on Friday in 23 counties, along with the deaths of 6 more people.
Though the tri-county area continues to have the larger number of cases, Lane County continues to see dozens of cases each day, including 53 on Friday. But other counties with smaller populations also saw an increase, including Umatilla, Jackson, Yamhill and Malheur.
In fact, Lane County was added to the state’s Watch List, which allows health officials offer extra support and resources if cases continue to spike. Lane County joins Benton, Clatsop, Malheur and Umatilla on the Watch List.
The complete list of counties with Friday cases are: Benton (2), Clackamas (45), Columbia (3), Coos (5), Crook (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (18), Douglas (5), Jackson (18), Jefferson (3), Klamath (2), Lane (53), Linn (12), Malheur (17), Marion (35), Morrow (5), Multnomah (86), Polk (13), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (17), Wasco (2), Washington (58), and Yamhill (14).
There are now 38,935 cases of the coronavirus in Oregon since the pandemic began. The death toll rose to 617.
The 6 people who died — 3 women, 3 men — all had underlying conditions. They ranged in age from 50 to 94 and lived in Jefferson, Washington, Curry, Hood River and Multnomah counties.
Allen also said underlying conditions can make COVID-19 infections more severe.
But “there are many people who are in good health for whom a COVID-19 infection is deadly, not just seeing people in poor health die from COVID-19.”