Oregon Passes COVID Milestones: Benton County Still Holding On

Over 2,000 Oregonians tested positive for COVID-19 between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, the Oregon Health Authority announced Sunday. There were 524 new infections reported, marking four straight days with 500 or more – 575 on Thursday, 600 on Friday, and 555 on Saturday 

The seven-day rolling average which counts the number of new cases per day, a prime indicator of the relative prevalence of infection among a population, surged to a record 455. 

Benton County reported just one new infection for a running total of 464 and Linn County reported another seven for a total of 881 since the outbreak in March.  

The prevalence of infection is at its highest point since the beginning of the outbreak, with 7.9% of COVID tests last week returned positive, meaning that out of every 100 Oregonians tested, approximately 8 had the coronavirus. The general rule of thumb is that a higher rate of test positivity corresponds to a higher prevalence of disease in among a given population or statistical area.  

But Linn and Benton counties appear to be comparatively better-off. The test-positivity rate among patients in Benton County was just 1.5% last week, while counties around Portland reported a combined rate of 8.3% over the same period. Curiously, underpopulated counties in Eastern Oregon reported the highest rates of test positivity, with about 17% of those tested last week returned positive. 

Deaths among patients were reported over the weekend, including a 73-year old Crook County woman, a 90-year old Washington County woman, and a 78-year-old man from Clackamas County. All three suffered from underlying medical conditions.  

There hasn’t been a surge in demand for ventilators to the same extent as was observed in other states, although the likelihood of that happens continues to increase. There were 25 intensive care unit patients on mechanical ventilation Sunday, the OHA reported, adding that 165 patients were reported hospitalized with the disease, and 53 were admitted to intensive care units statewide.  

Since the first positive test among Oregonians returned in February, health officials have identified 45,429 individuals infected with COVID-19.   

By Gabriel Perry