Update: Adding video, OHA case details, Safe + Strong helpline; Lincoln County to enter Phase 2 of reopening)
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 542, and the Oregon Health Authority reported 457 cases Friday -- the highest daily count since the pandemic began.
OHA reported 457 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 32,314 cases, along with 630,592 negative test result.
At a news briefing Friday, OHA Director Patrick Allen said, "We find ourselves at another crossroads," with the recent rise in cases.
Allen cited as factors Labor Day gatherings, the return of college students to campus, the interruption in tests due to wildfires and more people also seeking care due to respiratory issues from the recent, hazardous smoke levels.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported Friday are in the following counties: Benton (11), Clackamas (33), Clatsop (73), Columbia (7), Coos (3), Deschutes (17), Jackson (14), Jefferson (4), Josephine (2), Klamath (1), Lake (3), Lane (50), Lincoln (2), Linn (12), Malheur (20), Marion (58), Morrow (4), Multnomah (62), Polk (8), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (9), Union (4), Wasco (3), Washington (51), and Yamhill (5).
Crook County has had 61 COVID-19 cases, one death and 2,531 negative test results. Deschutes County has had 810 cases, 12 deaths and 29,135 negative test results. Jefferson County has had 524 cases, eight deaths and 4,630 negative test results.
St. Charles Health System reported three COVID-19 patients as of 8:30 a.m. Friday, one of whom is in the ICU and on a ventilator.
Morgan Emerson, preparedness coordinator with Deschutes County Health Services, said the majority of new cases are coming from a few areas: social gatherings tied to Labor Day, and those "just without proper precautions. Workplace outbreaks, so co-workers transmitting to other co-workers, and sometimes co-workers bringing that virus home to other household contacts.
"And then travel as well," Emerson said. "We've seen a larger percentage of cases tied to travel then we were seeing earlier in the summer/"
Oregon’s 540th COVID-19 death is a 76-year-old man in Lane County who died on Sept. 1. The death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Place of death is being confirmed.
Oregon’s 541st COVID-19 death is an 85-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Sept. 15 and died on Sept. 23 at Legacy Mt. Hood Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.
Oregon’s 542nd COVID-19 death is a 76-year-old man in Jackson County who tested positive on Sept. 10 and died on Sept. 18 at Providence Medford Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.
An outbreak of 79 cases of COVID-19 has been reported at Pacific Seafood in Clatsop County. The case count includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts to an employee. The outbreak investigation started on Sept. 15, but the initial case count was below the threshold for public disclosure.
Processing error causes increase in negative case counts
Due to an error with electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) processing, there is an increase in the number of negative cases in OHA’s negative case counts. The increase is more than 7,000 negative cases.
This has no bearing on the presumed and confirmed cases of COVID 19 being reported today.
OHA apologizes for this error and has updated our ELR processing protocol.
Stay informed about COVID-19:
Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Office of Emergency Management lead the state response leads the state response.
United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.
Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.
Oregon Health Authority news release:
Case count reaches new high, but together we can flatten the curve again
Today, we announced 457 new and presumptive COVID-19 cases. Sadly, this is the highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic in Oregon. We continue to see cases where seemingly innocuous activities – that we would not have thought twice about in the past—are fueling outbreaks.
Some examples of these cases include the following:
- An Oregon county has 13 cases associated with four university outbreaks, including a Greek house and three athletic teams.
- A county has 22 cases associated with three university outbreaks, including two Greek houses and a large back-to-school party.
- Another county has an outbreak that now includes 19 cases. It started with a small group who met for a prayer group while some also participated in a sewing group. One of the household members has died. None of the people reported wearing masks. The cases range in age from young children to 80s.
- Employees in a local company had an employee Labor Day party and now six employees are positive.
“While our recent modeling suggests that transmission may be waning, it also indicates that even a modest uptick in transmission can lead to an increase in daily cases – like the one we’re experiencing now – which can quickly eradicate the progress we have made in subduing the virus,” State Health Officer Dean Sidelinger said in a media briefing today.
We’ve all worked too hard beating back the tide of the virus to let that happen. We all know what needs to be done:
- Stay at least six feet apart from people outside your household
- Restrict your gatherings
- Wear a face covering when you are outside the house or indoors where distancing can’t be achieved
We’ve flattened the curve before, and we can do so again. As always, thank you for all you’re doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
Safe + Strong Helpline launches
If you are looking for emotional support, there are more resources available.
Oregon-based nonprofit Lines for Life and OHA have launched the Safe + Strong Helpline at 800-923-4357 (800-923-HELP). The line offers free, 24-7 emotional support and resource referral to anyone who needs it – not only those experiencing a mental health crisis.
The Safe + Strong Helpline is a response to the need for emotional support around disasters like COVID-19 and wildfires and was funded by the CARES Act. Callers are routed to a counselor who can provide emotional support, mental health triage, drug and alcohol counseling, crisis counseling or just connection.
OHA has also expanded its Safe + Strong education and outreach campaign to include behavioral health resources. A behavioral health landing page offers mental and emotional support information and resources as well as guidance for how to have conversations with loved ones who may be struggling.
"The ongoing pandemic along with multiple other stressors are affecting Oregonians’ mental health," said OHA Director Patrick Allen. "Over the past seven months, we have seen incredible resilience from communities across the state, as we have come together to support each other in powerful ways. We hope Oregonians will reach out to get the support they need and share resources with others in their communities. It’s OK to ask for support, and we want to make it as easy as possible to take the first step to get help."
- Safe + Strong Helpline: 800-923-4357 (HELP).
- Safe + Strong: www.safestrongoregon.org/.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.
Lincoln County Moving to Phase 2 of Reopening, Effective September 29
(Salem, OR) — Lincoln County will move to Phase 2 of reopening effective Tuesday, September 29. The county applied for Phase 2 in late August, and, after conversations with the Oregon Health Authority, agreed to remain in Phase 1 into September to ensure the county’s COVID-19 metrics had, in fact, stabilized.
“The people of Lincoln County and county leadership should be commended for pulling together after the COVID-19 workplace outbreak they experienced in June,” said Governor Brown. “They are an example of what we can all accomplish by working together to contain this disease.”
In the last two weeks, Lincoln County has had only 2 new cases of COVID-19 per week, for an average of 0.29 cases per day. The county’s positivity rate is below 2%––down from nearly 8% in the first week of August.