COVID-19 updates: Oregon Health Authority says transmission is high all across the state
More than half a million Oregonians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in the state nearly two years ago. As the omicron variant of the virus continues to spread, public health authorities say they're focused on outbreaks in high-risk settings.
As the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, public health authorities say they’re focused on outbreaks in high-risk settings.
More than half a million Oregonians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in the state nearly two years ago, and infections and deaths continue to climb this week. Meanwhile, schools across the state are doing their best to keep up with rapidly changing local situations — moving from in-person learning to remote education and back again, as students and staff call in sick, quarantine and then recover.
Here are some top headlines and latest updates on the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, fueled by the recent surge of the omicron variant.
Oregon Health Authority: Transmission is high all across the state
The Oregon Health Authority reported 28,037 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 541,415 diagnoses. New cases reflect diagnoses over the weekend and Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The state also reported 10 COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon over that period, raising the state’s death toll to 5,893.
Oregon’s COVID-19 community transmission dashboard shows all of Oregon’s 36 counties are having a high rate of transmission – defined as more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents.
As of midday Tuesday, 911 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across Oregon, including 152 in intensive care unit beds.
While COVID-19 cases rise in Oregon, the World Health Organization is detecting a slowdown globally and a drop in Africa, where the omicron variant was first identified. The number of new coronavirus cases globally rose by 20% last week to more than 18 million, according to the WHO. In its weekly report on the pandemic, the U.N. health agency said Tuesday that the number of new COVID-19 infections increased in every world region except for Africa, where cases fell by nearly a third. The number of deaths globally remained similar to the previous week, at about 45,000.
U.S. government begins taking orders, prepares to ship no-cost COVID-19 tests
The Biden Administration has said it is buying hundreds of millions of COVID tests to distribute as the omicron wave of the coronavirus has spiked cases across the country.
On Tuesday, an online portal through the U.S. Postal Service launched. It allows people to order four free tests per residence that will ship directly to their address. People can also obtain the tests by visiting www.covidtests.gov. The Biden administration said it has plans to also launch a free call line to order the tests.
Additionally, the federal government will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week. The White House said the masks will be made available at pharmacies and community health centers that have partnered with the administration’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Oregon school districts grapple with high infection rates
Several of Oregon’s largest school districts — including Salem-Keizer, North Clackamas and Gresham-Barlow — reopened for in-person learning on Tuesday, after temporarily canceling classes or moving to remote-learning amid staffing shortages and student absences.
The decisions around keeping schools open or closing them temporarily, in some cases as a transition to distance learning, have been largely tied to staffing levels, as well as student sick leaves and the number of available substitutes.
Recent updates and announcements:
- Portland Public Schools has taken a building-by-building, day-by-day approach. The district is posting updates to a school closure tracker.
- Klamath County School District has is closing two elementary schools starting Wednesday due to staffing shortages.
- North Powder School District in Union Co. is shifting to comprehensive distance learning Wednesday and Thursday due to COVID-19 cases and quarantines.
This is a developing story. Watch for updates.
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