The number of coronavirus cases in Oregon reached a new second-highest daily number Saturday with 277 cases, just one day after it was set at 250. Another death from coronavirus has been reported, as well.
Multnomah County saw the highest increase of any county with 59 cases. Umatilla County had the second-highest increase with 56. Washington County had the third-highest with 44.
The Oregon Health Authority reported the new cases Saturday, one case shy of the daily record, while eclipsing 8,000 total cases across the state.
Officials did not list a reason for the large increase in cases for either Friday or Saturday, but cases have been increasing for a month. Public health experts have said the increase is a result of Oregon’s reopening, which began in most counties on May 15, and Oregonians who have not been following public health measures. The previous daily record of 278 cases was linked to a church in Union County.
Gov. Kate Brown told members of the media Saturday she finds the increase alarming but noted other states have more cases. Brown did say “all options are on the table,” in how the state will respond to the increase in cases.
“I would hope to avoid a wholesale shutdown of the economy,” Brown said. “That’s not my preferred approach but Oregonians must take this seriously.”
The Oregon Health Authority also issued a correction after incorrectly reporting the death of a woman yesterday. The total number of coronavirus deaths in Oregon remains at 202.
As of Saturday, officials have identified 8,094 confirmed or presumptive cases of the disease.
Oregon’s numbers reflect a nationwide trend. The numbers of new U.S. cases have set records for each of the past three days — surpassing the previous high set in April. According to The New York Times, 30 states are seeing upward trends in new cases.
On Friday, the Oregon Health Authority said residents should prepare to see “exponential growth” in coronavirus infections in the next three weeks – with roughly 900 to 5,000 new daily infections possible under moderate to pessimistic models.
The latest reported death was an 84-year-old man in Multnomah County who died Monday. The Oregon Health Authority reported he had underlying medical conditions.
Where the numbers grew: New cases announced Saturday were from the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (16), Columbia (1), Coos (1), Crook (1), Deschutes (3), Jefferson (3), Josephine (2), Lake (1), Lane (14), Lincoln (2), Linn (4), Malheur (12), Marion (32), Morrow (5), Multnomah (59), Polk (2), Umatilla (56), Union (11), Wasco (2), Washington (44), and Yamhill (4).
Umatilla County set a new record with 56 new infections. The previous record was 53 new cases announced Friday. The Oregon Health Authority has yet to answer a request for information about the increase in Umatilla County.
Washington County set a new record with 44 new infections. The previous record was 39 cases, announced Friday.
Death toll: The 202 people who’ve died were from 16 counties — 69 people from Multnomah, 41 from Marion, 24 from Clackamas, 20 from Washington, 12 from Polk, nine from Linn, eight from Yamhill, five from Benton, four from Umatilla, three from Lane, two from Lincoln, and one each from Josephine, Malheur, Morrow, Union and Wasco.
Their ages ranged from 36 to 100. Among them, 114 men and 88 women have died. All but six had underlying medical conditions.
The breakdown of deaths by age: ages 30-39 (1), ages 40-49 (3), ages 50-59 (9), ages 60-69 (40), ages 70-79 (55), ages 80-plus (95).
How the disease is spreading: Part of the problem is that contact tracers have been unable to identify the sources of an unsettling percentage of new cases: one-third statewide.
In the Portland metro area, they haven’t pinpointed the sources of 34% of cases in Washington County, 42% in Clackamas County and 45% in Multnomah County, according to the latest data available from June 15-21.
Public health officials have set a goal of keeping those figures below 30%, which they say is necessary to keep the disease’s spread under control.
Officials say other than the significant proportion of unknown sources, they know the disease is spreading through outbreaks at food processing plants, group living situations such as nursing homes and prisons, and during social gatherings when friends and family get too close, don’t wear masks or meet up indoors.
County case totals: Multnomah County surpassed 2,000 infections. Two counties — Marion and Washington — have more than 1,000 known coronavirus cases each. Another 10 counties — Clackamas, Deschutes, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Polk, Umatilla, Union and Yamhill — have reported at least 100 coronavirus cases. Gilliam and Wheeler haven’t identified any.
Here’s the overall count — confirmed and presumptive cases — by county: Baker (1), Benton (82), Clackamas (681), Clatsop (48), Columbia (28), Coos (40), Crook (10), Curry (7), Deschutes (162), Douglas (38), Grant (1), Harney (1), Hood River, (88), Jackson (97), Jefferson (94), Josephine (30), Klamath (111), Lake (13), Lane (136), Lincoln (307), Linn (140), Malheur (85), Marion (1,432), Morrow (53), Multnomah (2,087), Polk (136), Sherman (1), Tillamook (7), Umatilla (419), Union (320), Wallowa (8), Wasco (60), Washington (1,258) and Yamhill (113).
Oregon’s Latino population has been disproportionately hit hard by the coronavirus. Though Latinos make up 13% of the state’s population, they represent about 35% of all positive cases.
Testing: The number of tests conducted wasn’t immediately available Saturday. Public health officials have said, however, that the disease is spreading more. The higher numbers aren’t just because of increased testing.
Recoveries: At least 2,649 COVID-19 patients have recovered from the illness, according to the latest numbers, published Friday.
Nationwide: More than 2.5 million people have been diagnosed with the disease, and 127,000 are known to have died.
This article has been updated with comments from Gov. Kate Brown.
Aimee Green, Shane Dixon Kavanaugh and Hillary Borrud of The Oregonian/OregonLive contributed to this report.
— K. Rambo
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