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Oregon Reports 888 New Cases Of COVID-19, The Highest Daily Total In Months

covid test - multnomah cty.jpg
Courtesy Multnomah County
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Multnomah County's COVID-19 testing at the East County Health Center Community site in Gresham in July 2020.

State health officials have warned that waning precautions and new variants could lead to a fourth wave of the virus.

Oregon health officials reported 888 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest number in months as the virus continues its resurgence in the state.

The state also reported three deaths attributed to the virus, raising the overall death toll to 2,460.

Even with the proportion of Oregonians with at least one dose of the vaccine rising daily — and nearly a quarter of the population fully vaccinated — health officials have said waning precautions among the public are leading to more spread. That, along with the increased prevalence of variants of the virus in Oregon, has led state leaders to warn Oregon could be headed for a “fourth wave” of infections.

That wave appears to be rising with Saturday’s release. The state hasn’t reported a higher number of daily infections since January, when a major spike in infections associated with the holiday season was subsiding.

In recent weeks, the increasing spread has led to increased restrictions in some of the state’s most heavily populated counties. The state is next expected to release updated risk levels for each county on Tuesday, which state epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger has said could lead to more safeguards.

Oregon has seen a total of 175,501 infections. And while the state has been largely spared the level of infection that has plagued other states, by at least one estimate, COVID-19 is now spreading more quickly here than in the majority of the country.

Dirk VanderHart is JPR's Salem correspondent reporting from the Oregon State Capitol. His reporting is funded through a collaboration between public radio stations around the Northwest called the Northwest News Network.