For the second day in a row, Oregon has reached a new high for confirmed coronavirus cases in a single day. On Friday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 600 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, 25 more than the previous high, set one day earlier.
“Those numbers represent real people and their families,” OHA said in a news release. “Our hearts go out to them and all who are impacted by this pandemic.”
The numbers included 45 new cases linked to Clackamas County, along with 91 in Washington and 152 in Multnomah.
The state also reported two new deaths: an 83-year-old Multnomah County woman with underlying conditions and a 95-year-old Linn County woman for whom the presence of underlying conditions is still being confirmed, the health authority said.
The news comes on the same day that a different state agency — the Oregon Department of Education — rolled out new and much more relaxed standards that would allow schools to reopen for in-person learning.
The standards are based on two metrics: weekly case counts and test positivity rate (i.e., the percentage of Covid-19 tests that come back positive).
Under the new metrics, school districts may reopen their doors in counties with weekly case counts of 50 per 100,000 residents or fewer over a two week period, and positivity rates of under 5% for the same period.
Counties that meet the case count standard but have a positivity rate in the 5%-8% range may reopen only for grades K-6.
Clackamas County has never been over the mark of 50 cases per 100,000, having reported 42, 42 and 47 the previous three weeks — however, that appears likely to change.
Preliminary data suggests the county has already crossed that threshold for this week, with more day — Saturday — still to be added to the tally.
Earlier Friday, school and health officials had again urged Oregonians to be diligent in following the now-standard pandemic control guidance to help ensure more schools can reopen for in-person instruction this fall.
“These metrics depend on the public doing its part to reduce Oregon’s case rates so that all of our children can return to in-person instruction,” ODE Director Colt Gill had said. “Oregonians can reduce spread and send our kids back to school by wearing a face covering, maintaining distance, washing hands frequently, and avoiding group gatherings.”
OHA is also encouraging people to rethink their Halloween plans for this weekend and choose alternatives that are less likely to spread the virus, such as carving pumpkins at home, watching a scary movie or having a candy hunt in your backyard.
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