Oregon COVID cases, hospitalizations drop as masks come off | Local

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TIM GRUVER

State officials are cautious but hopeful as Oregon’s mask mandate becomes Saturday, March 12 on Friday, March 11.

During a virtual briefing on Friday, Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist, the latest data is encouraging. He warned Oregonians that the pandemic is not over yet.

“We will continue to see new cases of the disease, and we expect new variants to emerge,” Sidelinger said. “But we believe the firewalls of immunity that we currently have can keep the virus at bay.”

To date, Oregon has recorded its third-lowest case rate per capita and seventh-lowest death rate since the pandemic began, the Oregon Health Authority reported Friday.

Before lifting the state mask mandate, OHA reported 411 new COVID-19 cases and 15 new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday.

With the new confirmed and suspected cases, Oregon’s COVID-19 case count to date stands at 699,363 since the pandemic began. The newly reported deaths bring Oregon’s total death toll to 6,869 people.

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The current seven-day average of 520 daily cases, Sidelinger said Friday, is about 94% below Oregon’s peak of 8,209 cases on Jan. 20, or its lowest seven-day average since July.

Benton County reported four new cases, bringing the total to 14,946. Linn County reported 17 new cases for a total of 26,253.

Neither counties reported new deaths as of Friday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Linn County to 239 and Benton County to 64.

Friday’s report comes before the state lifts its mask mandate for most indoor spaces on Friday night. Face masks must be worn in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and public transport. Private companies can continue to require face masks at their discretion.

Currently, the state is ninth in the nation for having the most recipients of coronavirus booster shots and 18th for fully vaccinated individuals.

OHA officials recommend that seniors 65 and older and those who are immunocompromised continue to wear face masks in most situations.

People with COVID-19 symptoms are also being urged to self-isolate for at least five days and wear a mask in public for five days after that.

Hospitalizations: As of Friday, 261 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon, down 10 from the previous report. Forty of them were in intensive care units.

According to the OHA, hospital admissions have now fallen well below Oregon’s three-month high of 1,130 patients during the peak of the Omicron variant-induced case spike in January.

Out of a total of 653 beds, 91 ICU beds are unoccupied, an availability rate of 14%, and 363 out of 4,301 adult non-ICU beds are unoccupied, an availability rate of 8%.

Across the region, which includes Linn, Benton, Marion, Polk, Lincoln, and Yamhill counties, 15 adult (15%) ICU beds and 34 adult non-ICU beds (5%) were available.

Vaccinations: OHA reported that as of Thursday, March 10, 3,518 new doses of coronavirus vaccine were added to the state immunization registry. More than 3.1 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and more than 2.8 million people have completed a vaccination course.

The seven-day running average is now 2,820 doses per day.

According to OHA data, coronavirus infection rates are four times higher in unvaccinated individuals than in fully vaccinated individuals.

National: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 42,566 new confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases, bringing the number of cases in the US to more than 79 million.

According to the CDC, 1,288 new deaths were recorded as of Friday, bringing the country’s death toll to 963,287 people.

Tim Gruver covers the city of Albany and Linn County. He can be contacted at 541-812-6114 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter via @T_TimeForce.

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