Oregon COVID-19 cases continue to climb

Lane County released this graphic showing the county's shift from "low risk" of community spread of COVID-19 all the way up to high risk.

Lane County to enter high risk next week

April 17, 2021 — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown held a press conference Friday to address the rising number of cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the state.

According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), April 14 reported 816 positive cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day count since data showed a decline in cases beginning in January. Thursday had an additional 733 confirmed cases, bringing the state’s total cases to 172,931 since February 2020, with a death toll of 2,455.

According to OHA State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, “Recent data is troubling, showing that the virus is again on the march throughout our state, sickening our friends and neighbors. Daily cases, hospitalizations, positive test rate and COVID-19 deaths are all on the upswing.”

He said that daily cases of COVID-19 have more than doubled in just over a month, with 20-percent or more increases each week for three weeks running.

In Lane County, total cases of the virus reached 11,504 on Friday, an increase of 74 people. The 97439 zip code, or the Florence area, shows 197 cases as of April 14.

Last week, Lane County Public Health (LCPH) announced, “Lane County is in our state warning week. Due to increasing COVID-19 cases we are currently on track to move to high risk level starting Friday, April 23.”

Locally, that will mean that some businesses and activities will have limited capacity. Those are listed at “Risk Level Metrics: Schools and Counties” at healthoregon.org/coronavirus.

“As our state exceeds more than 700 cases, it’s clear that this virus is persistent and it’s stubborn,” Brown said. “While we flatten the curve again and again, COVID will not surrender. But in the face of rising cases, we know that this time can be different.”

The governor listed face masks, social distancing of six feet, limited gatherings and getting vaccinated as the best ways to reduce COVID-19 numbers.

“Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from serious illness and death,” she said. “They are the best way to protect yourself from variants. They are the key to unlocking the restrictions this pandemic has forced on us so that we can return to doing the things we love and seeing the people we miss.”

At this point, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in Oregon.

On April 13, OHA issued a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “out of an abundance of caution as teams from the CDC and FDA review six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

The CDC is reviewing data and will reconsider the vaccine next week.

As of this week in Lane County, 23.14 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, or 87,690 people. An additional 58,194 have received their first dose. On Monday, April 19, Oregon will open vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older.

LCPH has been working with the City of Florence to host a mass vaccination clinic on Friday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St.

“We will have 1,000 doses and the walk-through format will be the same as our previous clinics,” said Assistant City Manager Megan Messmer.

Appointment scheduling will be through www.lanecounty.org/vaxclinics. All individuals 16 years of age and older will be eligible at the time of the clinic and will be able to schedule their own appointments directly.

“Appointment times for this clinic will be posted by Tuesday, and possibly earlier,” Messmer said. “We encourage those interested to monitor that website for appointments and make sure to select the Florence Events Center clinic, as all clinics are listed in the same location.”

For more information, visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus, covidvaccine.oregon.gov and lanecounty.org/coronavirus.

“We’re all tired of fighting COVID-19, tired of wearing our masks, tired of missing our loved ones and tired of keeping our distance,” Sidelinger said. “But we must continue to fight. As more of us and our family, friends and neighbors get vaccinated, we must continue to wear our masks, limit our high-risk indoor gatherings and keep our distance.”