Omicron slows but remains active

Lane County cases have decreased since Jan. 28

Feb. 5, 2022 — Though far from eliminated or even controlled, signs seem to be pointing in the right direction as local COVID-19 infections rates continue to drop. 

On Thursday, Feb. 3, Lane County Public Health (LCPH)reported one death and 523 confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19, raising the death total to 414 and the countywide case count to 51,639. There were 2,099 county residents considered infectious, down 5% from Wednesday's 2,211.

One hundred county residents were hospitalized on Feb. 3, up 26% from the day before’s 79, with 20 in intensive care and three on a ventilator.

Of the 100 county residents hospitalized Thursday, 79% were unvaccinated, LCPH reported.

As of Wednesday, 273,165 people in Lane County, 71.63% of the total population, had received first or second vaccine doses, with 643,052 first and second doses administered in Lane County, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

In addition, there were 14 new COVID cases reported in Florence on Feb. 3, bringing total cases to 1,327.

Numbers are most definitely moving in a positive direction, and according to LCPH, cases have been declining since Jan. 28.

"I think as a whole, the state of Oregon is seeing cases decline," said Public Information Officer Jason Davis. "Here in Lane County, we are a little bit erratic. We had a bit of a decline, but today (Thursday) we are back up to 523 cases. I don't think Omicron has completely exhausted all the possibilities that it would seize upon here in our county. So there is the possibility that we'll see triple digit case numbers for some time."

Davis mentioned that scientists now know enough about the difference between Omicron and Delta and can safely consider it less severe.  

"Folks can take more of a harm reduction strategy than a complete closure strategy," he said. "What we really want to do is educate our community about the science-based truth of what their personal risk is and hope they make an accurate assessment based off that information."

According to Davis, currently, based on the numbers, it appears there is not a need for additional restrictions or tighter vaccination or masking rules. Though, as has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, that could change if necessary.

“When we saw the Delta surge take hold in early August, we issued a set of public health recommendations that we hoped our community would follow,” Davis said. “These recommendations were to slow the spread of that illness, and that's something that we may do in the future, if we're put into that situation again. But right now, the climate does not justify changing any kind of recommendations or restrictions.”

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