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Oregon Health Authority to end daily COVID-19 news releases, will continue to post data online

Oregon Health Authority

'Says shift 'will better capture trends ... as Oregon moves into next phase of pandemic'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts continue to ease, the Oregon Health Authority announced Wednesday it will stop distributing a daily media release about COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths (including individual death summaries), effective next Monday.

Daily information about new COVID-19 cases, current hospitalizations of COVID-19 positive patients and deaths, along with other COVID-19 data, will continue to be available daily on the OHA website, data dashboards and social media platforms, the agency said.

OHA said, "The daily media releases grew out of the urgent need to communicate quickly evolving COVID-19 trends early in the pandemic. The news releases were sent to media partners seven days a week, including holidays, until July 2021, when the agency switched to weekday distribution."

"Now, as cases and hospitalizations have declined following a surge due to Omicron, and the public has the knowledge and tools to protect themselves, OHA is again adapting to the pandemic," it said.

But OHA also said, "The change in the cadence of media releases does not mean the pandemic is over. OHA will continue to monitor and report cases, deaths, hospitalizations, variants, vaccination and booster rates, and other developments. These monitoring efforts include analyzing wastewater samples across the state to track COVID-19 spread."

Since the early days of OHA’s COVID-19 reporting, the daily media release has included information about every person in Oregon who has died with COVID-19.

"While these summaries recognized those we lost, the shift in reporting will better capture trends over time as Oregon moves into the next phase of the pandemic," OHA said.

Effective Monday, April 4, OHA will post the following information every business day on OHA’s COVID-19 website, and on Twitter, Facebook and OHA Facebook en Espanol:

  • Newly reported COVID-19 cases
  • Total COVID-19 cases
  • Newly reported deaths with COVID-19
  • Total deaths with COVID-19
  • New hospitalizations of COVID-19 positive patients
  • Total current hospitalizations of COVID-19 positive patients.

In addition, OHA will publish a new data dashboard daily, highlighting data from several sources that monitor for COVID-19, trends and links to related dashboards for more detailed information.

Data presented on the new dashboard include:

  • New COVID-19 cases, the 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases and total COVID-19 cases from Opera, Oregon’s COVID-19 disease surveillance system, with a chart showing the daily trend.
  • Newly reported deaths with COVID-19, total deaths with COVID-19, and a chart of deaths with COVID-19 by date of death.
  • Current COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized and in intensive care unit (ICU) beds statewide as reported to HOSCAP, Oregon’s hospital capacity web system, with a chart showing the daily trend.
  • Percentage of statewide emergency department visits for COVID-19 like illness (CLI), as reported to Oregon ESSENCE, with a chart showing the daily trend.
  • Vaccination coverage among people statewide ages 18 years and older showing people with at least one dose and people boosted as reported to ALERT, Oregon’s Immunization Information System, with a chart showing trend over time. These data will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.
  • The number of COVID-19 tests reported and the percentage of tests that are positive, as reported to OHA, with a chart showing the daily trends.
  • The total number of variants of concern – Delta, Omicron (B1.1.529, BA1-1.1), and Omicron (BA.2) – sequenced statewide, with a chart showing trend over time. These data will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.

The cadence of some of OHA’s current COVID-19 reports also will change, starting next week. The COVID-19 vaccination dashboards, the Oregon COVID-19 Case and Testing Counts Statewide dashboard and the Oregon COVID-19 Testing and Outcomes by County dashboard will be published weekly on Wednesdays. The Data Report and Outbreak Report will be published every other week and the Breakthrough Report will be published monthly.

Although OHA will no longer distribute a daily media release, OHA said it "will continue to disseminate news releases about COVID-19 when trends merit widespread information sharing. One example is when new eligibility groups for boosters or vaccinations are announced."

During this phase of the pandemic, when cases and hospitalizations have declined, OHA recommends that people continue to care for themselves and others, and prepare for potential future increases in COVID-19 spread. Have well-fitting masks available. Make backup plans for child care, if a caregiver becomes sick and needs to isolate.  Get up to date on your recommended vaccinations and boosters.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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