The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday announced 2,437 cases and 21 new COVID-19 deaths, with September shaping up to rival if not surpass August as one of the deadliest months of the pandemic.
Oregon is now averaging 1,840 daily cases, down 21% from the summer peak, while the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is down 2%.
New modeling released Thursday by Oregon Health & Science University indicates COVID-19 hospitalizations have peaked. But it could take three months to drop from the 1,150 people currently hospitalized down to about 100, equal to the numbers at the beginning of the summer surge.
In a media availability on Thursday, public health officials pointed to the delta variant as a key factor in the mounting death toll.
“The delta variant is very, very contagious. It’s more contagious than previous variants,” said Dr. Bukhosi Dube, a senior health advisor at the Oregon Health Authority.
And the variant isn’t just affecting individuals in populations most at risk.
“In the last four or five weeks, we’ve seen an explosion of cases in pediatric cases,” Dube said. “It accounts for about 13% of all COVID-19 cases. That’s a significant departure from what we have experienced so far of this pandemic, and that departure is due to the delta variant. So, the delta variant is a game changer.”
In recent days, the state has also announced COVID-19 deaths involving an infant boy and several people in their twenties or thirties.
State officials continue to urge Oregonians to wear masks and get vaccinated to ensure that cases continue to slow.
“If you’re going to be outside, along with avoiding large crowds, make sure you practice good physical distancing, make sure you practice a good hand hygiene,” Dube said. “Those things prevent you from getting COVID-19 and, in turn, spreading it to young kids who cannot get vaccinated at the moment.”
Where the new cases are by county: Baker (22), Benton (27), Clackamas (204), Clatsop (37), Columbia (27), Coos (45), Crook (39), Curry (13), Deschutes (152), Douglas (168), Grant (20), Harney (6), Hood River (8), Jackson (190), Jefferson (21), Josephine (90), Klamath (25), Lake (7), Lane (189), Lincoln (18), Linn (134), Malheur (75), Marion (203), Morrow (2), Multnomah (203), Polk (98), Tillamook (15), Umatilla (119), Union (22), Wallowa (3), Wasco (23), Washington (180) and Yamhill (52).
(Click here to see deaths by month).
Who died: The state did not immediately release detailed death information.
Hospitalizations: 1,150 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized, up 12 from Wednesday. That includes 288 people in intensive care, down 12 from Wednesday.
Vaccines: Oregon reported 11,733 newly administered doses, including 4,890 Wednesday and the remainder from previous days.
Since it began: Oregon has reported 294,392 confirmed or presumed infections and 3,394 deaths, among the lowest per capita numbers in the nation. To date, the state has reported 4,928,943 vaccine doses administered, fully vaccinating 2,423,777 people and partially vaccinating 240,273 people.
To see more data and trends, visit https://projects.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/
— Alexandra Skores