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Weekly COVID Update: Linn Co. passes 100 deaths, more local schools have cases
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Weekly COVID Update: Linn Co. passes 100 deaths, more local schools have cases

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Virus Outbreak

Nursing coordinator Beth Springer looks into a patient's room in a COVID-19 ward at the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, La., Aug. 17. A decline in COVID-19 cases in the United States over the last several weeks has given overwhelmed hospitals some relief, but administrators are bracing for yet another possible surge as cold weather drives people indoors. 

Linn County passed 100 total COVID-19 deaths this week, and there are outbreaks that have caused 10 deaths and 139 cases continued at nursing homes in Albany and Lebanon, according to weekly data from the Oregon Health Authority.

More mid-Willamette Valley schools also had cases of the illness, and statewide, deaths continued to remain high despite drops in both cases and hospitalizations.

Data from the OHA shows that there have been 9,533 cases of COVID-19 reported across the state since last Friday, a decrease of more than 1,300 from last week. There were 167 new deaths during that same timeframe, up from 133 the previous week.

Ten of those deaths were in Linn County, which has now tallied 107 COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Benton County, by contrast, had zero deaths last week and its death toll stands at 30.

Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist, researcher and early proponent of using rapid antigen tests during the pandemic, shares three big lessons she’s learned about their use.

OHA and national data has previously showed a roughly two-week lag with deaths dropping after cases and hospitalizations, though that has not been reflected in the most recent data for Oregon.

There were 602 cases reported in Linn County since last week’s report, compared to 155 in Benton County. Linn County has now recorded 11,843 cases to date, while Benton County has recorded 5,085.

Nationwide, there were 99,055 new cases tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 1,550 new deaths. The tally since the start of the pandemic is now over 44.1 million cases and more than 700,000 deaths.

Nursing homes

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There are five mid-valley nursing homes with outbreaks, all in Linn County. They include: Meadowlark Senior Living in Lebanon (nine cases since July 26), Timberview Care Center in Albany (five cases since Aug. 5), Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon (22 cases since Aug. 10), Avamere Rehabilitation of Lebanon (75 cases and four deaths since Aug. 19), and Regency of Albany (28 cases and six deaths since Sept. 17).

Avamere and Regency did not return calls this week to speak about their response to the outbreaks or answer questions about their residents’ and employees’ vaccination rates.

School cases

There are three local schools with caseloads that reach the definition of an outbreak, which is described by the Oregon Health Authority as multiple cases within two weeks and from separate households. The three schools with outbreaks are all in Linn County: Centennial Elementary in Scio (four cases since Sept. 29), Central Linn High School in Halsey (two cases since Sept. 22), and Green Acres Elementary in Lebanon (10 cases since Sept. 21).

There are 60 mid-valley schools with recent cases, a separate category from “outbreaks” – 38 in Linn County and 22 in Benton County.

The list of Linn County Schools with recent cases reported to the Oregon Health Authority are as follows:

Harrisburg Elementary (nine students and one staff case since Sept. 30), Harrisburg Middle School (four students since Sept. 29), Timber Ridge School in Albany (nine student cases since Sept. 29), West Albany High School (four students and two staff since Sept. 29), South Albany High School (10 students since Sept. 29), Scio High School (one student since Sept. 29), Lebanon High School (20 students since Sept. 29), Harrisburg High School (four students since Sept. 29), Takena Elementary in Albany (12 students Since Sept. 28), Waverly Elementary School in Albany (five students since Sept. 28), Green Acres Elementary School in Lebanon (12 students and one staff Sept. 28), Lacomb School in Lebanon (three students since Sept. 28), Calapooia Middle School in Albany (10 student cases since Sept. 26), Hamilton Creek in Lebanon (eight students since Sept. 26), Central Linn Elementary in Halsey (two students since Sept. 25), Foster Elementary in Sweet Home (three students since Sept. 25), Central Linn Junior/Senior High School (five students since Sept. 25), Sweet Home Junior High (one student since Sept. 24), Santiam Elementary in Mill City (one student since Sept. 23), Central Elementary in Albany (three students and one staff since Sept. 22), Periwinkle Elementary in Albany (three students since Sept. 22), Sand Ridge Charter School (two students since Sept. 21), Memorial Middle School in Albany (two students since Sept. 21), Sunrise Elementary in Albany (one student since Sept. 21), Seven Oak Middle School in Lebanon (five students since Sept. 21), Albany Christian School (six students since Sept. 20), South Shore Elementary in Albany (two students and one staff since Sept. 20), Lafayette Elementary in Albany (three students since Sept. 19), Riverview School in Lebanon (one student since Sept. 18), Central Valley Christian School in Tangent (one student since Sept. 18), Sweet Home High School (two students since Sept. 18), Meadow Ridge Elementary in Albany (two students since Sept. 17), Mari-Linn School in Lyons (one student since Sept. 14), Oak Heights Elementary in Sweet Home (two students since Sept. 14), Standard Christian School in Albany (one student since Sept. 14), Oak Elementary in Albany (one student since Sept. 13), Hawthorne Elementary in Sweet Home (one student since Sept. 13), Scio Middle School (one student since Sept. 10).

The list of Benton County schools with recent cases reported to the Oregon Health Authority is as follows:

Garfield Elementary School in Corvallis (four students and one staff case since Oct. 2), Corvallis High School (seven student cases since Oct. 1), Lincoln Elementary School (six students since Sept. 30), Santiam Christian Schools in Adair Village (two students since Sept. 19), Monroe Grade School (three students and one staff since Sept. 27), Alsea Charter School (four students and one staff since Sept. 27), Linus Pauling Middle School (five students and one staff since Sept. 27), Cheldelin Middle School in Corvallis (four students since Sept. 26), North Albany Middle School (two cases Sept. 26), Philomath Middle School (one student since Sept. 25), Philomath High School (three students and one staff since Sept. 25), Mountainview Elementary in Corvallis (five students since Sept. 25), Crescent Valley High in Corvallis (seven students since Sept. 25), Muddy Creek Charter School in Corvallis (two students since Sept. 22) , College Hill in Corvallis (two students since Sept. 19), Kings Valley Charter School in Philomath (three students since Sept. 18), Adams Elementary in Corvallis (two students since Sept. 17), Philomath Elementary (three students since Sept. 16), Jaguar Elementary School in Corvallis (two students since Sept. 15), North Albany Elementary (one student since Sept. 13), Wildcat Elementary (one student since Sept. 11), Oak Grove Elementary School in North Albany (one student since Sept. 9).

Vaccinations

Vaccinations administered in Oregon increased for the third consecutive week, to more than 61,000 doses across Oregon. There have now been more than 2,765,000 people vaccinated across the state, with a little less than 219,000 of those still needing to complete their vaccine series. Part of the increase in vaccinations is due to third shot boosters, which have now begun to be rolled out.

The percentage of breakthrough cases ticked up this week to a new high since the summer. According to OHA’s weekly outbreak report, the proportion of breakthrough cases is now 24.4%, up from 21.6% the previous week. Serious cases of COVID continue to be higher among the unvaccinated, and less than 1% of them have died. Of the more than 28,000 breakthrough cases that have been identified in Oregon, 237 of them have died.

Troy Shinn covers healthcare, natural resources and Linn County government. He can be reached at 541-812-6114 or troy.shinn@lee.net. He can be found on Twitter at @troydshinn. 

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