OHA Director Patrick Allen speaking during today’s media availability: "As I speak to you today, we are at a dire point in the pandemic in Oregon. #COVID19 is spreading dangerously fast. Over the past week we have established new daily records for daily cases and deaths."
"But I want to underscore one vital point. The virus doesn’t set the timeline for anything: we do. You have the power to end this nightmare: wear a mask, keep your get-togethers small and limit your social interactions to one other household at a time."
"Let me give you an overview on where things stand in Oregon: In total, Oregon has recorded 62,175 cases, including 1,306 today, and now, 812 tragic and preventable deaths, including 4 today."
"The virus is spreading faster: Three weeks ago, we recorded 3,500 weekly cases for the first time. The following week we exceeded 5,000 and this past week we eclipsed 6,000 cases."
"People are dying at a faster rate: This week we surpassed another sad milestone in the pandemic – our 800th death only 16 days after we crossed the threshold of 700 deaths."
"Weekly hospitalizations also hit a record high at 212. Our hospital numbers should be sounding alarms for all of us. We’ve experienced a 142% increase in hospitalizations since Nov. 1, in patients who have tested positive for #COVID19, and a 234% increase over the past month."
"Our level of test positivity remains stubbornly high, even as more Oregonians are being tested. There’s been a lot of discussion about COVID-19 testing in Oregon this week. Let me preview a few of the points Dr. Sutton will cover."
"Oregon tests for COVID-19 at a rate that’s comparable to most other states in the US. When the pandemic started, we measured the number of new people tested, so we could be as transparent as possible."
"Now, there are a lot more ways for people to get tested, so we’re moving to a test-based reporting system. When we look at the total number of tests performed in Oregon each week, we’re right in line with other states on a per capita basis."
"Oregon’s test positivity rate is too high right now and tells us COVID-19 is spreading too fast, even when we shift from a person-based testing calculation to a total test-based calculation."
"When we recalculate our historic positivity rates using the new method, Oregon’s test positivity rate drops significantly. It goes from a shockingly high rate of almost 13% to an alarmingly high rate of nearly 7%. But still above the level that would indicate declining spread."
"Testing is a vital part of Oregon’s strategy to suppress COVID-19. Oregon has increased testing by 60% since the beginning of October. We’re sending tens of thousands of BinaxNOW tests per week to hard-hit local providers and organizing mass testing events across Oregon."
"But testing isn’t enough. The most effective strategies to save lives are: Wear a mask, limit your get-togethers to one other household and keep your gatherings small (ideally 6 people of fewer)."

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More from @OHAOregon

20 Nov
OHA Senior Health Advisor Dr. Melissa Sutton during today's media availability: "Currently, Oregon reports the number of persons tested for #COVID19 each week. Our data shows that to date, more than 966,000 people -- nearly 1 in 4 Oregonians – have been tested."
"Until this point, we have counted and reported people tested, because our infectious disease database was created and formatted to track people as opposed to laboratory results. Many other states report people tested for this same reason."
"Why have we reported the total number of people tested, instead of the total number of tests? Early in the pandemic, testing was occurring mostly through the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory or in hospital systems. Cases were being retested frequently."
Read 18 tweets
25 Sep
OHA Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, Leann Johnson, during today's media availability: "Today we’re pleased to announce that OHA has selected a variety of non-profit organizations and tribal governments throughout the state as grantees for health equity grants."
"We have chosen 206 organizations and tribal governments to partner with to address the disproportionate impact of the #COVID19 pandemic on Oregon’s communities of color. The grants total $45M which the legislature designated for this purpose from federal CARES Act funding."
"The grants focus resources to communities most disproportionately impacted by #COVID19 and programs that will address health and economic disruptions, food insecurity and housing, and safety and violence prevention, among other aspects of need."
Read 10 tweets
25 Sep
OHA State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger speaking during today’s media availability: "We continue to see cases where seemingly innocuous activities – that we would not have thought twice about in the past - are fueling outbreaks."
"Here are some examples:
-- One Oregon county has 13 cases associated with 4 University outbreaks, including a Greek house and 3 athletic teams.
-- Another county has 22 cases associated with 3 University outbreaks, including 2 Greek houses and a large back to school party."
"-- Another county has an outbreak that includes 19 cases. It started with a small prayer group who met with others from a sewing group. One of the household members has died. None of the people reported wearing masks. Ages of cases ranges from young children to in their 80’s."
Read 6 tweets
25 Sep
OHA Director Patrick Allen during today’s media availability: "We find ourselves at another crossroads: After weeks of steady decline, #COVID19 cases have been rising. Today we are reporting 457 new cases – the single highest daily total since the onset of this pandemic."
"We have also seen an increase in the rate of positive tests. These are some of the contributing factors:
• Labor Day gatherings
• College students returning to campuses
• Testing interruptions in fire-ravaged areas and more people seeking care for respiratory issues"
"For several weeks, we were successful in reducing #COVID19 cases. New cases reported weekly were in steady decline. Oregon continues to have one of the lowest rates of infection in the nation. But this surge is an indication of how fragile our progress against the virus is."
Read 7 tweets
14 Sep
OHA Environmental Public Health Section Manager, Gabriela Goldfarb, speaking during today’s press conference: "Based on this morning’s smoke coordination call, we don’t see relief from harmful air quality until late in the week, closer to the weekend."
"Even in some places where there may be limited improvement at times, that just means dropping from one bad air category to the next. We are seeing that play out with health impacts to people in our communities: 10% of all ER visits across the state are for asthma-like symptoms."
"While everyone can experience symptoms of smoke exposure, susceptible populations such as pregnant women, children, the elderly, people recovering from respiratory infections, and people who have preexisting heart/respiratory disease are at higher risk."
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep
Today OHA released its Weekly Testing Summary, which showed that, of 26,855 people tested during the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 1,163, or 4.3 percent were positive. bit.ly/3jYJAFp
As in past weeks, the total for that week is likely to rise as test results continue to be reported to OHA.
As of Sept. 5, Oregon’s cumulative positivity rate is 4.6 percent of people tested. This is considerably lower than the national average of 8 percent.
Read 4 tweets

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