New modeling shows with precautions in place, we can save many lives

On April 30, Governor Kate Brown gave an update on the status of COVID-19 in Oregon. The Governor was joined by Dr. Peter Graven, Lead Data Scientist, Oregon Health & Science University; Mariana Robins, a 15-year old with long-haul COVID-19 symptoms.

Governor Brown noted that we have seen cases increase 20% or more for the last five weeks, making Oregon the state with the highest rate of increase in cases over the last two weeks. Hospitalizations are increasing at almost double what they were a week ago. And the portion of hospitalized cases of people who are 18 to 34 has increased by almost 50 percent.

Dr. Peter Graven, who has spent more than a year working on COVID-19 modeling for Oregon and other states across the country, gave an overview of modeling predictions for the virus. The modeling considers the rate of people getting vaccinated, how much variants are present, the number of previous infections and how effective the state’s risk-level framework is.

Dr. Graven said, “The good news is, when you pair these data together, it shows us that we have just three to four more weeks until we’re in good shape. That’s when cases will fall, and our vaccine levels will be high enough that with basic preventive measures the virus cannot effectively grow.

Following risk level policies for those counties in extreme or high risk is another huge sacrifice. But if we can follow a short pause in those activities where the virus thrives, namely indoors without masks, and in close proximity with people outside our household, our modeling shows it will effectively halt increases in cases and prevent another 176 Oregonians from dying from COVID-19 and over 700 more hospitalizations that would occur if we did not follow the risk level framework.”

Mariana Robins, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, who became ill with COVID-19 in September of 2020shared her experience with the illness. Mariana has long-haul symptoms that include memory loss, dizziness, migraines, severe pain and passing out without warning.

Mariana said, “Even though I’m slowly getting better and getting back to a normal high school life, post-COVID is still affecting me. It has made it harder to learn and remember things that I used to know pre-COVID. Before COVID I used to read all the time. Now I can’t even read a simple paragraph without getting tired and frustrated. With the help of my teachers and staff, they have been very supportive at my school.

After all this time suffering, I strongly urge others to get the vaccine because it can save your life and it can make sure that you and others don’t have to get affected the same way and have to suffer like I have. For me as a teenager, I strongly urge other teenagers to get the vaccine as well because this can happen to you.”

Watch Mariana’s full story below.

To learn more about today’s news conference, you can:

  • Read the news release.
  • Data and analysis from OHSU is available on their website under the section titled “OHSU COVID-19 forecast.”
  • OHSU’s COVID forecast for April 30, 2021 is available here
  • Watch a recording of the news conference below: