Coronavirus in Oregon: 826 new cases, 3 deaths in incomplete tally as reporting stalled due to Thanksgiving holiday

The Oregon Health Authority reported 826 new coronavirus cases and 3 deaths Friday, numbers officials say are unusually low due to several public health departments who report daily case counts being out of office for Thanksgiving. As a result, public health officials anticipate Saturday’s daily case counts will be unusually high.

Oregon has broken several grim coronavirus records this week, including case count, deaths and numbers of people hospitalized. The state’s total COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began is now 70,832.

Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday announced she’d loosened many restrictions that she’d outlined on Nov. 13 in order to stem the record-breaking spread of COVID-19. Brown said she will end the two-week statewide “freeze” Dec. 3, replacing it with a tiered risk assessment that lightens restrictions for counties with lower case counts per capita.

Starting Thursday, Dec. 3, many of Brown’s restrictions will be lifted in Oregon counties that haven’t been as hard hit by the coronavirus. Meanwhile, 21 counties deemed at “extreme risk” of rampant viral spread (including Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties) will face new, in some cases less stringent restrictions. These lighter restrictions include allowing outdoor dining at bars and restaurants, and quadrupling the indoor gathering sizes for large religious institutions.

Brown tightened restrictions for grocery and retail stores and malls, which will be limited to 50% capacity. Currently, stores are limited to 75% capacity.

Public health officials will use COVID-19 numbers for Monday, Nov. 30, to determine which counties fall into the “extreme risk” category and are subject to the most rigid restrictions. Currently, public health officials estimate that could be about 21 of Oregon’s 36 counties. A list of counties can be viewed here.

Oregon Health Authority did not report numerous data points due to the Thanksgiving holiday, making it impossible to calculate the current positive test rate or growth of new confirmed or presumed infections among different age groups.

Where the new cases are by county: Benton (9), Clackamas (14), Columbia (13), Crook (6), Deschutes (90), Douglas (12), Gilliam (1), Grant (1), Harney (3), Hood River (1), Jackson (1), Jefferson (4), Josephine (2), Lane (64), Lincoln (4), Linn (27), Malheur (10), Marion (168), Morrow (8), Multnomah (14), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (45), Union (22), Wasco (7), Washington (297) and Yamhill (1).

New deaths: Oregon’s 883rd death from coronavirus is an 87-year-old woman in Union County who had underlying medical conditions, though the state did not report what the conditions were. She tested positive Nov. 17 and died Nov. 24.

The state’s 884th victim of COVID-19 is an 87-year-old woman in Linn County who also had unspecified underlying medical conditions. She tested positive Oct. 29 and died Nov. 20.

Oregon’s 885th death from coronavirus is a 78-year-old woman in Linn County who also had unspecified underlying medical conditions. She tested positive on Oct. 29 and died Nov. 19.

Who’s in the hospital: The state reported 521 Oregonians with confirmed coronavirus infections are currently in the hospital Friday, up 32 since Wednesday. The state also said there were 115 coronavirus patients in intensive care units.

Since it began: Oregon has reported 70,832 confirmed or presumed infections and 885 deaths, among the lowest totals in the nation. To date, 1,028,119 Oregonians have been tested.

— Catalina Gaitán; @catalinagaitan_

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