Today, the Oregon Health Authority’s Dr. Dean Sidelinger shared promising news about COVID-19 hospitalization and case rates, but also warned that we still need to work together to help Oregon defeat the pandemic.
As Dr. Sidelinger reminds us, “Our ability to sustain this hopeful progress and ultimately regain the upper hand over the coming weeks, is dependent upon getting more Oregonians vaccinated, and on all of us continuing to wear masks when in indoor public spaces, when we’re outdoors among crowds, and reconsidering plans that put us or others at higher risk of getting COVID-19.”
Daily cases and hospitalizations slowly declining, but still a concern
“Daily cases and hospitalizations are slowly coming down from the record-highs we have experienced over the past several weeks, an indication that Oregonians are once again stepping up to fend off the virus,” says Dr. Sidelinger.
The newest data, like the latest modeling, show that daily cases and hospitalizations appear to have stabilized after peaking in early September. It also suggests Oregon will see a gradual decline in cases over the next several weeks.
- As of Sept. 15, the 7-day average of daily cases was 1,949, a decline compared with Sept. 1’s 7-day average of 2,200.
- Over the same period, we are seeing a corresponding drop in the percentage of positive tests, from 11.9% to 11.5%.
- After 8 weeks of increased cases, September’s COVID-19 Weekly Reports began showing a decline. The Sept. 5 report showed a 10% decline from the previous week’s report, and the latest weekly report marked an 11% decline.
- COVID-19-related hospitalizations fell by 42%, following 6 consecutive weeks of increases.
- COVID-19-associated deaths declined by 30% from the previous week.
Even so, Oregon still totals more than 1,000 COVID-19 related hospitalizations a day. Oregon’s health system cannot sustain these capacity levels.
“Every layer matters” to protect students, families and schools against COVID-19
OHA has worked closely with the Oregon Department of Education in adopting a multi-layered approach to ensure that Oregon’s schools remain well protected against COVID-19. As Dr. Sidelinger reminds us, “Every layer matters. Every layer helps keep students in class.”
For schools, that means smaller cohorts, adequate ventilation and air filtration. For everyone, it means getting vaccinations for those who are eligible, and following these precautions to avoid infection:
- Physical distancing,
- Practicing good hand and cough hygiene,
- Wearing face coverings, and
- Staying home when sick.
These, and all the other measures schools have learned and practiced over the last 19 months, will help students continue in-person learning this school year. As Dr. Sidelinger notes, these measures “are critical to accomplishing our shared objective of ensuring that schools can reliably hold school in-person every day and all school year.”
The work we need to continue: Vaccinations, masks and distancing
Unvaccinated people continue to account for an overwhelming majority of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Oregon and across the country. The data shows that:
- Vaccines are effective shields against serious illness and death from all the COVID-19 variants.
- Vaccines better protect people against COVID-19, even if even if they’ve had COVID-19 before.
All three COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in preventing severe COVID-19 infection leading to hospitalization. If you are 12 or older, visit OHA’s Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon web page to schedule your vaccine appointment today.