Oregon set a new daily record with 805 new presumptive and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus reported on Thursday, shattering the last record by more than 200 cases.
Today’s high case count brings Oregon’s total to 47,839 cases. The Oregon Health Authority also reported five new deaths in the state — including a 74-year-old Clackamas County man who died Tuesday at Providence Portland Medical Center — raising the statewide death toll to 710.
The cause of today’s spike is still under investigation, health officials said, but “data from recent weeks continues to show that increased spread is due to small informal gatherings rather than large workplace or other outbreaks,” according to State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger.
“Covid-19 is spreading in Oregon at an unprecedented rate, driven in no small measure by in-person, indoor social gatherings,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement Thursday. “You are most likely to get Covid-19 from your family and friends.”
Sporadic cases – those not traced to a source – are also increasing. The percentage of positive tests is also rising, up to 8.5% last week.
“Let me be clear: We cannot allow this disease to continue to spread so rapidly in our communities,” the governor said. “Lives are at stake.”
Oregonians have made “tremendous sacrifices” to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Brown said, crediting these sacrifices for the Beaver State standing out among the nation as having one of the lowest per capita rates of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
“We can’t let up now,” she concluded, promising to “take further action to stop the spread of Covid-19.” “And I need Oregonians to continue to do their part as well.”
Among Thursday’s record total were 71 new cases in Clackamas County. The recent surge over the past two weeks has erased hopes that schools in Clackamas County might soon reopen for hybrid, in-person learning under looser metrics the state recently announced.
The recent surge shows the virus is “spreading more rapidly in Oregon than we had hoped,” Sidelinger said.
“All this data leads us to conclude that Oregonians are circulating more in their communities,” he said. “They are letting their guard down – and doing so as the weather turns colder. They are also spending more time indoors.”
He encouraged Oregonians to be diligent about the following the now-standard health advice: avoid large gatherings and parties of any kind, wear face coverings when outside your household, maintain your physical distance at all times, and wash, wash, wash your hands.
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