Oregon reported 1,517 new COVID-19 infections Sunday, a daily record and the second straight day the statewide tally has topped 1,500.
“Oregon is on a steep and stark slope of rising coronavirus cases,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said in a written statement. “But we aren’t powerless in the face of this virus. Because it depends on us to slow the spread. Your choices make a difference.”
Coronavirus cases are soaring in Oregon and across the country. The state is now averaging nearly 1,200 new cases a day over the past week, roughly triple Oregon’s weekly average just one month ago.
Sunday marked the fourth consecutive day Oregon set a new case record.
Gov. Kate Brown asked Oregonians to do more to slow spread of the disease. “Together, we can turn this around,” Brown wrote on Twitter.
Health authorities did not update the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 Sunday, but that daily total rose above 400 at the end of last week – also roughly three times the number of hospitalizations a month earlier.
The Oregonian/OregonLive began asking the Oregon Health Authority on Nov. 9 to release hospitalization data on the weekends. So far, the agency has not agreed to do so although a spokesperson said it’s under consideration.
Oregon reported just one new COVID-19 death Sunday, a 65-year-old man, marking the state’s 820th from the disease. The state said it didn’t yet have information on where he died or whether he had underlying health conditions.
Brown implemented a statewide “freeze” Wednesday in an effort to contain the disease. She limited social gatherings to no more than six people and shuttering gyms and dine-in service at bars and restaurants.
Oregon health authorities are urging people not to travel this holiday week and to forgo large Thanksgiving gatherings. They attribute the surge in cases to reckless social gatherings, in which people gather indoors with people outside their families and without masks to prevent them from spreading possible infections.
“The safest, wisest and most caring way to protect the people you love is to keep your Thanksgiving dinner small and limited to no more than one other household beside your own,” Allen said Sunday. “Keep the holidays a time to remember, not a time to regret.”
Oregon’s freeze lasts for at least two weeks except in Multnomah County, where the outbreak is especially severe. Oregon’s largest county will be under a freeze order for at least four weeks.
On Sunday, Multnomah County accounted for more than a third of reported coronavirus cases. It makes up less than 20% of the state’s population.
Where the new cases are by county: Benton (7), Clackamas (207), Clatsop (7), Columbia (8), Coos (9), Crook (6), Deschutes (38), Douglas (12), Grant (15), Hood River (6), Jackson (55), Jefferson (8), Josephine (14), Klamath (53), Lake (6), Lane (64), Lincoln (1), Linn (27), Malheur (16), Marion (183), Morrow (7), Multnomah (516), Polk (26), Umatilla (47), Union (5), Wasco (11), Washington (128) and Yamhill (35).
New deaths: The 820th fatality is a 65-year-old Multnomah County man who tested positive on Nov. 15, the same day he died. Authorities said they had not determined where he died or whether he had underlying health conditions.
Since it began: Oregon has reported 65,170 confirmed or presumed infections and 820 deaths, still among the lowest totals in the nation. To date, 944,444 Oregonians have been tested.
— Mike Rogoway