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COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Continue To Climb In Oregon

<p>Oregon Health & Science University nurse practitioner Shelby Freed talks to a patient before testing them for COVID-19 at a drive-up station in Portland, Ore., Friday, March 20, 2020. Proper PPE includes a mask, face shield, gown, gloves and shoe covers.</p>
OPB
Oregon Health & Science University nurse practitioner Shelby Freed talks to a patient before testing them for COVID-19 at a drive-up station in Portland, Ore., Friday, March 20, 2020.

Oregon's COVID-19 numbers — cases, hospitalizations, deaths — are still on the rise, raising concerns among public health officials.

With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, and several weeks with holidays like Christmas, Hannukah and New Years ahead, public health officials across the country continue to sound the alarm about rising cases of coronavirus. National figures show a grim picture, with case numbers rising over the last two weeks by almost 9%, and deaths growing by a worrisome 29%.

Oregon has hit a new, concerning pattern of recording at least 1,000 cases, every day, after going through the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic without ever hitting that figure. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,314 cases - including well over 300 in Multnomah County. All but five Oregon counties reported at least one case, confirming again, that the virus has taken hold throughout the state, especially in and around the largest population centers.

“COVID-19 is spreading faster in all parts of Oregon,” said OHA director Patrick Allen in a statement released Monday.

Seven more Oregonians died of the disease. They ranged in age from a 58-year-old Washington County man to an 85-year-old woman in Marion County.

Heath officials continue to warn of rising hospitalization figures. A big public health concern is that COVID-19 needs are going to overwhelm hospital capacity. Just from Sunday to Monday, coronavirus hospitalizations went up more than 8% to 584 and intensive care numbers rose more than 9% to 117 ICU patients.

At the same time the number of patients keeps rising, there is optimism at the prospect of vaccines. Oregon Health and Science University announced it’s helping test the effectiveness of a COVID-19 drug developed by pharmaceutical maker AstraZeneca. OHSU is part of a research effort seeking 30,000 research subjects to help test the efficacy of one of a number of promising coronavirus vaccines.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting