SALEM, Ore. — The transmission rate of COVID-19 continues to increase as Oregon health officials announced an additional 418 new confirmed cases Friday and six additional deaths.
Also, Gov. Kate Brown announced that Lane County has been added to the County Watch List because of increasing cases.
At the current rate of transmission, Oregon Health Authority officials project that new infections will increase “substantially” to 570 new reported cases a day and 40 hospitalizations.
For six weeks, Oregon’s COVID-19 cases were in a downward trend. However, since mid-September, officials warned that numbers were again increasing at an alarming rate.
During the week of Oct. 5-11, the state recorded an 18 percent increase in cases from the previous week. During that week Oregon’s positivity rate was 6.4 percent.
In fact, last week the Oregon Health Authority reported the state’s largest daily case count since the start of the pandemic — 484 new cases. This week Oregon marked a grim milestone as the state surpassed 600 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
“We won’t be able to prevent more infections, and get more schools and businesses open in Oregon, until more people act with urgency and avoid the social super-spreader gatherings that have driven COVID-19 transmission and disease in Oregon,” Patrick Allen, director of the health authority, said last week.
Officials say that the vast change in transmission rate from one month to another shows how “fragile” the situation is in Oregon.
Friday’s numbers bring the state’s case tally to 38,935 and the number of deaths to 617, the Oregon Health Authority reported.
If transmission increases by 5 percentage points, the Oregon Health Authority predicts that there will be 740 new reported cases a day in the state.
Even if transmission decreases by 10 percentage points, the health authority predicts 290 daily reported cases and 20 hospitalizations.
Officials have attributed the rise in cases to Labor Day gatherings, the return of college students to campus, the interruption of testing during recent wildfires in Oregon and recent workplace outbreaks.
Brown said these ways of transmission are especially true for Lane County, which was added to the state’s County Watch List after an increase in cases.