PORTLAND, Ore. — Officials from the Oregon Health Authority noted on Tuesday in a press conference with Governor Kate Brown that coronavirus infections and hospitalizations may have finally reached their peak, though the surge is far from over.
"Because Oregonians are masking up and continuing to get vaccinated, we have been able to cut the projected length of this surge," said Governor Brown. "However, there are still challenging times ahead. And we must remain vigilant. Every action you take impacts how this plays out. Every time you mask up you’re helping our doctors and nurses do their jobs. Every time you mask up, you’re helping our kids return to school more safely. And every time you mask up you’re helping keep our businesses and communities open."
The Oregon Health Authority reported 5,821 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which reflects positive tests logged from Friday through Monday. The state also reported 54 more deaths attributed to COVID-19, bringing the death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 3,326.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 around the state declined slightly between Monday and Tuesday. There were 1,140 total patients, 12 fewer than on Monday. There were 300 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 10 fewer than on Monday.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 57 available adult ICU beds out of 641 in the state, or an availability of 9 percent. There were 409 available non-ICU beds out of 4,317 total, or 9 percent.
The apparent decline in infections tracks with OHSU's modeling data, which predicted the peak to occur early this week. However, as an Asante surgeon noted in a September 1 press conference, hospitals may continue to be at crisis capacity into mid-October even as hospitalizations gradually fall.
Full OHA data has yet to be released for last week, but Oregon saw eight consecutive weeks of increasing cases in the weeks prior. The last weekly total was 16,252, which state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger noted was 13 times higher than cases during the week that ended on July 4.
Hospitalizations and ICU admissions hit record highs last week, then receded slightly.
"Our newest modeling offers some encouragement — a slowing of the growth of cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks," said Dr. Sidelinger. "But that is conditioned upon more adult Oregonians getting vaccinated and taking other protective steps such as wearing masks when in indoor public spaces, when we’re outdoors among crowds, and reconsidering plans that put us or others at higher risk from getting COVID-19.
"The decisions we make over the next few weeks will determine whether we plunge deeper into this crisis of care or we reverse this rising tsunami."
Dr. Sidelinger encouraged all eligible Oregonians who have not been vaccinated to schedule their appointments as soon as they can to protect themselves and others with the vaccine.
Oregon case data
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (33), Benton (56), Clackamas (453), Clatsop (27), Columbia (98), Coos (38), Crook (15), Curry (19), Deschutes (404), Douglas (421), Harney (12), Hood River (25), Jackson (439), Jefferson (28), Josephine (262), Klamath (65), Lake (2), Lane (647), Lincoln (77), Linn (302), Malheur (21), Marion (602), Morrow (24), Multnomah (772), Polk (71), Sherman (5), Tillamook (69), Umatilla (91), Union (57), Wallowa (19), Wasco (26), Washington (550), Wheeler (1) and Yamhill (90).
Oregon reports 2,149 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Sept. 3, 466 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Sept. 4, 2,064 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Sept. 5 and 1,142 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Sept. 6.
Reported case counts and electronic laboratory report (ELR) totals are lower than expected on Sept. 4 due to a technical issue that delayed ELR processing. Processing of ELRs received on Sept. 4 was completed on Sept. 5, and ELR totals are higher than expected for Sept. 5.