Oregon Health Authority changes how it counts COVID-19 negative test results
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Amid a worrisome statewide surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Oregon Health Authority Senior Advisor Dr. Melissa Sutton on Friday called the state's positive percentage rate "unacceptably high."
That number that Sutton is concerned about was 6.7% Friday -- which was close to half of what that number was Thursday, at 12.7%.
OHA's new way of testing will include all negative test results. Originally, people who tested negative were only counted once, no matter how many negative tests they received.
Since October, the state has increased its testing by 60%. Last week, about 113,000 people in state were tested for the virus.
While hope for a COVID-19 vaccine is increasing following successful trials, ODA Director Dr. Patrick Allen said there are still a lot of unknowns.
“I think the biggest issue is, what is the distribution plan from the federal government?" Allen said Friday. "One of the two vaccines that look like they are going to become available have some significant distribution challenges around the temperatures they need to be maintained at and the size of the shipments and how large and small they are, as we try and serve rural areas.”
At a weekly media briefing Friday, Oregon health officials stressed the importance of continuing to physically distance this upcoming holiday season.
“Please stay home with your family now, so that your loved ones and your family don’t have to end up in the ICUs on the holidays,” said Christine Bartlett, director of critical care at Oregon Health and Science University.
The rise in cases has forced 50 of Bartlett's critical care staff to quarantine because of community exposure.