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Health and Medicine

Oregon Nears 700th Death From COVID-19

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Mufid Majnun on Unsplash
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The state is emerging from a record-breaking week, as test results suggest infections are likely to continue rising.

Oregon broke new records in the past week with COVID-19 diagnoses, and recently saw a one-day spike in deaths that tied the record for coronavirus fatalities set over the summer.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 524 new confirmed and presumed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths on Sunday. State health officials know of 45,429 people who have contracted the virus since the pandemic began, and 691 who have died of it, though they say the actual number of infections is likely far higher than confirmed numbers.

In the seven-day period that ended Saturday, Oregon officials announced 3,250 new diagnoses. On Thursday, the state reported a record-breaking 575 diagnosis in a single day — and then on Friday, Oregon shattered that record with 600 more confirmed cases.

On Saturday, the state reported 14 deaths, tying the record set in July for the most daily COVID-19 deaths.

Two months ago, health officials were forecasting a steady decline in the virus' presence in Oregon, at a time when only 4.4% of COVID-19 tests came back positive, suggesting its spread was waning.

In the most recent week, 6.5% of tests came back positive, the Oregon Health Authority said. The World Health Organization has recommended that communities only ease restrictions when the positivity rate is below 5%, which it sees as an indicator that the virus' spread is under control.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting