SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority reported 457 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, the state’s largest daily total since the start of the pandemic.
Officials attributed the rise in cases to Labor Day gatherings, the return of college students to campus and the interruption of testing during recent wildfires in Oregon.
“Today we find ourselves at another crossroads,” said the Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. “After weeks of steady decline in COVID-19, cases have begun rising.”
Currently more than 32,300 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Oregon.
The death toll in the state is 542.
For six weeks, Oregon’s COVID-19 cases and rate of transmission were in a “downward trend.”
However, Allen said that the most recent data provided by the Oregon Health Authority shows that the percentage of positive tests has increased from 5.6 percent to 6.2 percent and hospitalizations increased by 28 percent, revealing “how fragile our progress against the virus is.”
“These are discouraging numbers,” Allen said. “As experience has taught us throughout the pandemic, this is a marathon not a sprint. We cannot let the virus regain momentum. We cannot let up in our collective efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.”
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state’s epidemiologist, gave several examples of recent outbreaks, including 45 cases connected to various university parties, Greek life partings and college sports team gatherings, and 19 cases and one death connected to a prayer and sewing group.