COVID-19 cases and deaths have both increased this week following two weeks of steady decline. Caseloads started in the high 100s this week and then grew to more than 300 on Tuesday’s report from the Oregon Health Authority. Caseloads have held around that level for the rest of this week so far.
Deaths had held at less than five per day for most of this week after two troubling days spent in the double digits last week. This week, seven new deaths were reported on both Tuesday and Wednesday, including an 84-year-old Linn County man.
Hospitalizations also peaked at 176 people on Wednesday. The number of patients in ICU beds has fluctuated, dropping and rising more or less with the trends in hospitalizations. Hospitalization rates have slightly decreased over this week, though they are holding around 150.
OHA Director Pat Allen attributed the increase in totals to the busy Memorial Day weekend of travel.
“This comes two weeks after one of the busiest holiday travel times we have seen since the start of the pandemic and is a reminder that gatherings we enjoy and travel still present risks without the protection provided by vaccination,” he said in Wednesday’s OHA report.
Linn County continues to add double digit numbers in presumptive or confirmed positive cases on several days every week, while Benton County’s cases average three per day. Linn’s average is 12 per day over the past week.
The vaccination campaign has seen some promising gains in the past week. Last Friday, Oregon needed more than 87,000 people to be vaccinated in order to reach the 70% threshold that Gov. Kate Brown has said is needed to lift most pandemic restrictions. This week, that number has dropped to just over 60,000. The seven-day average of vaccine doses administered in Oregon is 15,444.
This week, Lane County joined the list of Oregon counties that have successfully vaccinated at least 65% of their population and made plans for how to reach the rest. Doing so grants these counties reduced transmission risk and a loosening of social distancing restrictions. The list now includes Benton, Lincoln, Washington, Multnomah, Hood River and Deschutes counties.
Linn County is still far below the goal, with about 54% of its population having received at least one dose. While its vaccination rate has increased by just shy of 5% since last week, Linn County still has to vaccinate nearly 12,000 people over the age of 16 in order to reach the 65% percent threshold.
The data on vaccination thresholds comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been experiencing a technical issue where a couple of days’ worth of data may not be updating, according to a statement on the CDC and OHA websites.
The weekly outbreak report from OHA shows promising gains in terms of local workplaces, senior living facilities and schools
There are no active outbreaks listed at senior living facilities on either side of the river, and an active outbreak at the Albany Walmart is now listed as resolved. There are still active cases being tracked at Palm Harbor Homes, the Lowe’s Distribution Center in Lebanon and at Clayton Homes. In Benton County, the only active caseloads are reported at Hollingsworth and Vose Fiber Company in Corvallis.
There are currently 23 mid-valley schools with active cases being tracked. While several schools were removed from the active case tracker in the past week, several more were added in both Linn and Benton counties.
Mari-Linn Elementary in Lyons, Pioneer School in Lebanon, Liberty Elementary, Waverly Elementary and Timber Ridge Middle School in Albany all have cases that are considered resolved now.
Riverview School in Lebanon was added back to the list of schools with active cases after being removed just last week. Since June 10, four students and one staff member have had positive or presumptive COVID-19 cases there.
The list of area schools with active COVID-19 cases are as follows:
Tangent Elementary (one student case), Takena Elementary (four student cases), Riverview School (four students, two staff), Lebanon High School (13 student cases), Periwinkle Elementary (8 students), Albany Christian School (8 students, two staff), Cascades Elementary (two students, two staff), Oak Elementary (one student, one staff), Calapooia Middle School (seven students), Meadow Ridge Elementary (four students), East Linn Christian (three students, one staff), West Albany High (eight students), South Albany High (12 students, two staff), Sand Ridge Charter School (four students and one staff), Franklin School (one student case), North Albany Elementary (two students), Philomath High (six students, two staff), Santiam Christian (15 students, five staff), Lincoln Elementary (one student), Cheldelin Middle School (four students), Crescent Valley High School (five students), Monroe High School (one student case), Linus Pauling Middle School (four student cases).
The OHA tracks K-12 schools with cases reported in the last 28 days. Once the school goes 28 days without a new case, it is removed from the list of schools with active cases. OHA’s data are provisional and subject to change.
Troy Shinn covers healthcare, natural resources and the Linn County government. He can be reached at 541-812-6114 or email@example.com. He can be found on Twitter at @troydshinn.