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Health and Medicine

COVID-19 Surge Continues, Ahead Of Oregon’s Partial ‘Pause’ On Gatherings

Oregon Health & Science University nurse practitioner Shelby Freed (left) sanitizes her hands between glove changes on Friday, March 20, 2020, in Portland, Ore.
opb

Oregon reported 874 new COVID-19 diagnoses Sunday, and one new death, as the coronavirus continues surging to levels not previously seen in the pandemic's first nine months in the state.

Saturday the state reported 988 cases, breaking Oregon’s previous daily diagnosis record – set just last Thursday.

This rapid spike in new diagnoses comes as the state prepares to enter a two-week “pause” on social gatherings in communities that have been the epicenters of outbreaks: Jackson Multnomah, Marion, Malheur and Umatilla counties. It also comes as diagnoses surge across the United States and much of Europe.

In Oregon, the bulk of cases reported Sunday were centered in the state’s three Portland metro counties — Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas — and also in Marion County, which contains the state capital, Salem.

Clark County, Washington, in the Portland metro area to the north, has also reported an uptick in diagnoses, with 95 new positive tests reported there Friday and one new death, of a woman in her 50s with no underlying medical conditions. The county set a one-week record for new diagnoses last week, and Washington set multiple records for new case counts last week, though that state has not announced new restrictions.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced last week that the two-week “pause” on social gatherings would be imposed portions of the state.

The U.S. reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University, marking the fourth day in a row that new cases topped more than 100,000.

Across the globe, many European nations are grappling with their own COVID-19 wave, which has prompted fresh restrictions as well as protests against those limits.

Spain is under a national state of emergency, with nighttime curfews in place, Italy has been closing gyms and movie theaters and requires restaurants and bars to close by 6 p.m., and parts of northern Denmark have been locked down after officials identified a coronavirus outbreak linked to local mink farms. The U.K. entered a five-week travel lockdown on Thursday.

The Associated Press and NPR contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting