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COVID cases and hospitalizations in Oregon slowly decline

The newest data shows daily cases and hospitalizations in the state have stabilized after peaking around the start of September.

PORTLAND, Ore. — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Oregon are slowly dropping from record-high numbers fueled by the delta variant over the past several weeks.

Oregon's state epidemiologist and health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger gave an update during a news conference on Thursday. He said the newest data shows daily cases and hospitalizations have stabilized after peaking around the start of September. The numbers are projected to gradually decline over the next few weeks.

Weekly trends

According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), as of Sept. 15, the seven-day daily average was 1,949 cases per day. The same average on Sept. 1 was 2,200. Over the same period, the percentage of positive tests dropped from 11.9% to 11.5%.

RELATED: More younger people are dying from COVID in Oregon

The OHA also said COVID-19 related hospitalizations fell by 42% following six straight weeks of increases. Still, Oregon is still totaling more than 1,000 COVID-19 related hospitalizations a day which is putting significant stress on the state's health system. 

Deaths from COVID-19 declined by 30% from the previous week.

"These are positive trends, but we need to keep up the pressure against the virus," Sidelinger said. "We know from our experience in this pandemic that a slippage in our resolve can quickly erase these hard-won gains."

Thursday update

OHA reported 2,242 new cases and 11 new deaths in its daily update Thursday, Sept. 16. The state saw a drop in hospitalizations — as of Thursday, 1,027 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 40 fewer than Wednesday. 

As of Thursday, 2,694,868 people in Oregon have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,453,495 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. The seven-day average is now 7,444 doses administered per day.

Health officials are concerned there could be another surge of the delta variant during the fall and winter. Sidelinger also urged Oregonians age six months and older to get a flu shot. He also said people should continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces and in large outdoor crowds.

New cases were reported in these Oregon counties:

Baker (22), Benton (34), Clackamas (84), Clatsop (47), Columbia (33), Coos (48), Crook (26), Curry (13), Deschutes (169), Douglas (81), Grant (1), Harney (14), Hood River (13), Jackson (149), Jefferson (10), Josephine (70), Klamath (68), Lake (6), Lane (184), Lincoln (20), Linn (167), Malheur (42), Marion (205), Morrow (8), Multnomah (249), Polk (42), Sherman (2), Tillamook (11), Umatilla (63), Union (31), Wallowa (4), Wasco (19), Washington (243) and Yamhill (64).

Oregon’s 3,537th COVID-19 related death was a 64-year-old woman from Jackson County who tested positive on Sept. 3 and died on Sept. 14 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,538th COVID-19 related death was a 62-year-old woman from Jackson County who tested positive on Aug. 31 and died on Sept. 14 at Providence Medford Medical Center. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,539th COVID-19 related death was a 75-year-old man from Jackson County who tested positive on Aug. 5 and died on Aug. 15 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,540th COVID-19 related death was a 75-year-old man from Douglas County who tested positive on Sept. 12 and died on Sept. 15. Location of death and presence of underlying conditions are being confirmed.

Oregon’s 3,541st COVID-19 related death was a 59-year-old man from Jackson County who tested positive on Sept. 5 and died on Sept. 14 at Providence Medford Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,542nd COVID-19 related death was a 78-year-old man from Jackson County who tested positive on Sept. 8 and died on Sept. 14 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,543rd COVID-19 related death was a 93-year-old man from Jackson County who tested positive on Sept. 8 and died on Sept. 14 at Ashland Community Hospital. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,544th COVID-19 related death was a 38-year-old man from Jackson County who died on Sept. 5 at his residence. The death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 3,545th COVID-19 related death was a 70-year-old man from Multnomah County who tested positive on April 24 and died on May 8 at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 3,546th COVID-19 related death was an 86-year-old woman from Wallowa County who tested positive on Aug. 25 and died on Aug. 27. Location of death and presence of underlying conditions are being confirmed.

Oregon’s 3,547th COVID-19 related death was a 69-year-old woman from Josephine County who tested positive on Sept. 14 and died on Sept. 8 at her residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Breakthrough cases

OHA's most recent breakthrough case report found 81.3% of reported cases from Sept. 1-15 were in unvaccinated people. There were 2,632 total breakthrough cases. To date, there have been 19,549 breakthrough cases reported in Oregon. The average age of breakthrough cases is 48. To date, 4.7% of all vaccine breakthrough cases have been hospitalized and 0.9% have died. The average age of the people who died was 81, according to OHA.

School outbreaks

Sidelinger said safety protocols have helped minimize the spread of COVID-19 in schools. However, some schools in the state have temporarily reverted to distance learning due to COVID-19 exposures.

RELATED: Portland Public Schools releases new COVID-19 dashboard

Reynolds High School in Troutdale will teach students remotely from Sept. 20-24. Students at John Wetten Elementary in Gladstone will also learn remotely from Sept. 20-24. An email to parents said the COVID-19 exposure came from a vaccinated staff member who was in close contact with up to 175 students daily.

"While we don't want like to quarantine students and have them go home to distance learning, we know that that's an important tool in keeping COVID from spreading in the school," said Sidelinger.

Oregon schools can opt-in to a number of COVID-19 testing programs through the OHA in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). 

Kids 12 years old and younger are not yet eligible to get the vaccine.