PORTLAND, Ore. — For the first time in weeks, the Oregon Health Authority reported that most COVID-19 metrics dropped somewhat last week — though the hospitalization crisis in particular is far from over.
OHA's weekly report, released Wednesday, showed decreases in daily cases, hospitalizations, and deaths during the week of Monday, September 6 through Sunday, September 12.
During that week, OHA reported 12,997 new cases of the virus, an 11 percent decrease from the previous week. The public health agency noted that 79 percent of cases since the surge began in early July have been "sporadic," cases without a known source or instances of community spread.
There were 592 new hospitalizations for COVID-19 last week, down from 1,028 the week prior. This represents the first drop in new hospitalizations after nine consecutive weeks of increases.
"While the number of new hospitalizations has decreased, this hospitalization number does not account for people who remain hospitalized from previous weeks," OHA said. "Over the past week, there was a slight decrease in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients as reported through Oregon’s Hospital Capacity Web System (HOSCAP), but the number of hospitalized patients is still high."
Hospitalizations continue to fluctuate, with many hospitals continuing to operate at the very limits of their capacity — particularly in intensive care units. This week, ICU patients actually increased both Tuesday and Wednesday, though overall COVID-19 patients dropped Wednesday. There are still 1,067 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, 294 of them in an ICU.
Deaths also dropped slightly. There were 120 deaths attributed to COVID-19 last week, down from 171 the week prior. This was the first decrease after six straight weeks of increases.
Regardless, deaths continue to mount. The OHA reported 46 more fatalities on Wednesday, and there were 44 on Tuesday. The state's COVID-19 death toll currently stands at 3,536.
One outlier was the state's COVID-19 test positivity rate, which actually increased last week to 12 percent. There were 149,123 tests for the virus last week.