PORTLAND, Ore. — There were 5,177 COVID-19 cases reported last week in Oregon, according to health officials, marking the third straight week the state has set a record for the number of reported coronavirus cases.
The previous weekly high was 3,542 cases reported two weeks ago. There were 2,642 cases reported three weeks ago, which was a record at the time but was just a little more than half the number of cases reported last week.
While there were 46% more known COVID-19 infections last week, testing increased by just 6.1%, to 34,307 tests, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The positive test rate rose from 8.4% two weeks ago to 11.9% last week.
The rising case numbers and positive test rate show the virus is spreading at an unprecedented rate in Oregon, eight and a half months into the pandemic. After a downward trend in August and September, health officials warned of an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in October that has now continued into the first half of November.
Over the past eight days, Oregon has reported its eight highest daily case counts so far during the pandemic, ranging from 723 cases to 1,122 cases, with the latter being reported on Thursday. During this stretch, Oregon has averaged 866 cases per day. There has been a total of 53,879 known coronavirus cases in Oregon during the pandemic.
In addition to the record number of cases, OHA said there was a record number of deaths, 42, and hospitalizations, 212, last week. There are 746 Oregonians reported to have died in connection with the virus during the pandemic. There are currently 342 people suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 who are hospitalized, according to OHA.
In a recorded message Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the state is reaching a breaking point.
"Even more Oregonians are going to become infected with COVID-19 if we do not change course right now," Brown said. "Our hospital beds are filling to capacity and our doctors and nurses are working day and night. If we do not act immediately, we will soon reach a breaking point.
"Our communities and our economy will be hit on a scale that was unimaginable even a few short weeks ago, and unfortunately, many more Oregonians will die. We have already lost too many."
OHA reminds people to take the following safety precautions:
- Wear a face covering.
- Keep physically distant.
- Avoid large gatherings and restrict gatherings with people outside of your household.
- Maintain good hand hygiene.