SALEM, Ore. — The ratio of positive coronavirus tests to negative results remains almost level for the third week in a row, dropping slightly, based on the latest weekly testing report from the Oregon Health Authority.
Oregon's statewide test positivity rate is one of the metrics established by Governor Kate Brown, OHA, and education officials for schools in the state to fully reopen with in-person classes. In order for any school to bring grade 4-12 students back into classrooms, the state's positivity rate must fall below 5 percent and stay there for three weeks.
At the beginning of August, test positivity peaked at 6.2 percent. It fell to 5.2 percent the following week, and stayed steady at 5.2 rate for the week after that. Last week, it dropped slightly to 5.1 — a positive sign, but not yet below the vital benchmark for schools.
"It is reassuring that test positivity is relatively stable, which suggests that the number of people newly infected with COVID-19 each week is no longer increasing rapidly," OHA said in a statement.
Governor Brown indicated last week that she is considering heightened coronavirus restrictions if the rate of COVID-19 spread in Oregon does not fall dramatically under existing conditions, enough to secure the benchmark needed for schools to return with in-person learning.
OHA also reported that the supply chain for coronavirus testing continues to pose a problem, with testing manufacturers taxed by increased demand across the country.
"Laboratories are reporting that allocations for most COVID-19 test manufacturers cannot keep up with the demand and are consequently sending specimens to outside labs for testing," the agency said.
Roughly 20 percent of test specimens in Oregon were sent to out-of-state labs for testing last week due to these supply chain issues.