‘As of today, more than a quarter-million Oregonians have contracted COVID-19’
Officials continue to urge vaccinations as hospitals near capacity
Aug. 21, 2021 — Oregon continues to tally more than 2,000 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 each day.
“As of today, more than a quarter-million Oregonians have contracted COVID-19,” reported the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Friday.
In a press conference on Aug. 19, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, OHA Director Patrick Allen and other state officials talked about the state of COVID-10 in Oregon.
“The grip of the Delta variant is tightening, and without a concerted effort by all Oregonians over the next several weeks to wear masks and get vaccinated, we risk being swamped by the rapidly rising tide of infections in our communities,” Sidelinger said. “Over the past week, daily cases and COVID-19-related hospitalizations have continued an alarming ascent — regularly setting new pandemic highs — far beyond what we experienced in previous surges.”
Locally, zip code 97439’s two-week total is 44 new cases, with a total of 382 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. This is out of a population of 14,343. Neighboring zip codes — 97441, 97453, 97490 and 97493 — with fewer than 1,000 people do not have separate listings, but are included in the state’s aggregate count.
As of Aug. 19, Lane County has had a total of 18,356 cases of COVID-19. Currently, there are 110 people hospitalized in the county from the virus, with 65 of those Lane County residents. Twenty patients are in the ICU, with 10 needing ventilators.
According to OHA, the week of Aug. 9 through Aug. 15 represents a 53% increase in cases over the previous week — marking the fifth consecutive week of increases.
In the state, there have been 31,394 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 among people under 18 years old. OHA is now tracking pediatric COVID-19 case data through its Tableau Public dashboard at public.tableau.com/app/profile/oregon.health.authority.covid.19.
Statewide, more than 845 Oregonians are hospitalized for COVID-19, with 226 in ICU. Hospitals are currently at 93% capacity.
“This isn’t just about beds––it’s about having enough trained health care professionals to treat patients,” Brown said Thursday. “Our nurses, doctors, and health care workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic––in full PPE––for over 17 months. They are being stretched to their absolute limits providing life-saving treatment for the patients in their care. This puts all of us at risk. When our hospitals are full, there may not be a staffed bed for you if you have an unexpected medical emergency. When ambulances have nowhere to go, people die preventable deaths.”
The governor announced two new vaccination measures to address the hospital crisis, as well as the education system as schools prepare to reopen.
Oregon’s vaccination requirement for health care workers will no longer have a testing alternative. Health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later.
In addition, all teachers, educators, support staff and volunteers in K-12 schools will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later.
“I know we had all hoped that, by now, we could put the challenges of 2020 behind us. But after the last year and a half, I also know what we are capable of when we all work together. Last year, we stood together for our nurses, doctors, and health care workers. We saved lives by following science and data. I’m asking you to do it again for our health care heroes, vulnerable community members and Oregon’s kids,” Brown stated. “Our best tools to keep our schools, businesses and communities open are wearing masks and getting vaccinated.”
The governor outlined steps Oregon is taking to support hospitals during the ongoing surge in cases and hospitalizations, including deploying the National Guard and nurse strike teams, establishing temporary decompression units to free up bed space, and removing barriers to discharging patients who no longer require hospital-level care.
This week, OHA also released information on the demographics of those currently contracting the virus.
“OHA’s most recent update on COVID-19 breakthrough cases … found that 85.6% of the 20,701 reported COVID-19 cases between Aug. 1 and Aug. 14 occurred in people who were unvaccinated. There were 2,982 breakthrough cases, accounting for 14.4% of all cases,” the report stated.
To date, there have been 7,138 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases in Oregon. The report shows that the rate of COVID-19 in unvaccinated people is currently approximately six times higher than in vaccinated people.
Learn more about breakthrough cases in Oregon at www.oregon.gov/oha/covid19/Documents/DataReports/Breakthrough-Case-Report-08-19-2021.pdf.
People can watch the governor’s Aug. 19 press conference at www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxfQIRoPjyw.
To learn more about COVID-19 and vaccination efforts in Oregon, visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus and covidvaccine.oregon.gov, as well as lanecounty.org/coronavirus and lanecounty.org/vaxclinics.
Lane County Public Health released this visualization created by PeaceHealth showing the vaccination status of the medical group’s COVID-19 patients from April 1 through Aug. 18.