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Oregon reports 19th COVID-19 death — and new signs that social distancing is working

Oregon coronavirus MGN

47 new cases, for total of 736; three in Deschutes, now at 27

(Update: Adding Crook County's first case; Deschutes County data)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The COVID-19 virus has claimed one more life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 19, the Oregon Health Authority reported Wednesday.

OHA also reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 as of 8 a.m. Wednesday. The new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday are in these counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (6), Deschutes (3, for a total of 27), Douglas (1), Jackson (1), Lane (2), Lincoln (1), Marion (10), Multnomah (18), Washington (3), and Yamhill (1).

One case previously reported in Hood River County was identified as a resident of another state; thus, Thursday’s statewide case count is 736.

The Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website:

Oregon’s 19th COVID-19 death is a 70-year-old woman in Multnomah County, who tested positive on Friday and died Sunday at her residence. She had underlying medical conditions, officials said.

Update: The COVID-19 case data OHA publishes once a day on its website and shares once a day with the media are provisional and subject to change. A case reported Tuesday as a Hood River County case was later determined to be a Washington state case. The total number of new cases reported as of Tuesday has changed from 690 to 689.

Oregon has now had 736 positive test results and 14,132 negative results. Deschutes County has had 27 positive results and 277 negative results. Crook County has had 15 COVID-19 tests, all negative -- until the county's first confirmed case was reported Wednesday afternoon, while Jefferson County has had 16, all negative.

As of Wednesday, according to Deschutes County's COVID-19 data, 11 of the 27 Deschutes County cases had recovered. Sixteen of the cases were female and 11 were male. In age groups, nine were 70 or older, 11 50-69 and seven under 50.

Fifteen had domestic or international travel history and 12 had no travel history. Eight had been hospitalized and 19 had not.

Latest COVID-19 projections show social distancing can cut coronavirus infections if Oregonians keep current measures in place into May

Updated projections from health researchers show that there is “strong evidence that measures currently in place in Oregon are reducing transmission,” according to the latest models, OHA reported.  

The most recent data suggest that current social distancing measures could cut transmission rates between 50%-70% if Oregonians maintain these limitations on virus-spreading interactions into early May.

"If Oregonians can maintain current social distancing efforts and the current projections hold true, the state could meet the likely demand for hospital beds under current strategies," the news release said. 

According to the latest report, researchers estimate that Oregon has slightly higher numbers of current infections than previously assessed, based on an increase in reported cases from earlier time points.

  • COVID-19 infections: Under current social distancing conditions with the cooperation of most Oregonians to Stay Home, Save Lives, it is estimated that in early May Oregon would have over 4,000 cumulative infections and 200-1,200 active infections. However, if the state were to reopen non-essential businesses (while keeping schools closed), the number of new infections would spike to as many as 3,500 active infections by early May
  • Hospital beds needed: Researchers found that “expected demand for hospital beds is predicted to remain relatively constant before decreasing, assuming current or strengthened interventions and continued high compliance."
  • Uncertainty: Researchers highlighted that the projections remain uncertain. In coming weeks, state public health officials and researchers will get a better picture of current actual infections and how they affect the projections, as well as more data on the public’s continued adherence to social distancing measures.

The models state health officials released today were prepared by the Institute for Disease Modeling, based in Washington.

Oregon’s emergency response continues to focus on strengthening the health care system’s ability to meet the coming surge.

State health officials are working with hospitals and other health care partners to mobilize the health care workforce and keep workers safe, expand bed capacity and secure more ventilators.

However, officials said the public’s ability to maintain social distancing will be the most important factor in determining whether Oregon prevents local hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 admissions.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer at OHA, said, “We know coronavirus has brought painful disruption and distress for Oregonians. However, these numbers tell us that what we’re doing can work.

"We know social distancing is tough and comes with incredible sacrifices. But steps we’re all taking to maintain social distancing could save the lives of people we know and people who are important to us. As Oregonians, we all must continue to put Stay Home, Save Lives into practice.”

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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