Oregon COVID forecast: 'Rapid growth' to continue

Oregon COVID forecast: 'Rapid growth' to continue

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon could see nearly 1,200 COVID-19 cases each day by mid-August, according to a new model projection.

Oregon health officials released the latest COVID-19 modeling for the state on Friday amid an ongoing surge of cases in the state. On Friday, Oregon Health Authority officials reported 1,076 new confirmed and presumptive cases in addition to three more deaths.

“I’m extremely concerned about the situation right now,” Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state’s epidemiologist, said on Friday afternoon while discussing the new modeling.

“The situation we’re facing right now is different than the situation we faced a year ago. This variant is much more transmissible,” Sidelinger said. He said even vaccinated people can get COVID-19, but are much less likely to become seriously ill.

The best way to protect yourself is to wear a mask in public, Sidelinger said. As for whether or not there would be a statewide mask mandate again, Sidelinger said he believes the current “strong recommendation” is sufficient. He did not say what number of cases or hospitalizations would trigger a mandate.

Friday’s new projection is the first to be released since the state reopened on June 30.

The report projects daily cases to increase to 390 cases per 100,000 people, or an estimated 1,170 daily cases with 95 new daily hospitalizations.

The model released by OHA is based on COVID-19’s effective reproductive rate, which was estimated to be at 1.58 through mid-July, compared to the estimation of 0.74 through mid-June.

OHA officials, including state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, are expected to speak on the latest model projections and answer questions about the modeling report on Friday afternoon.

As cases surged this week due to the delta variant, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a mask requirement for all state buildings and for K-12 educational institutions, including for those who are vaccinated, following a recommendation by OHA for everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear masks in indoor public settings in the state.

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