PORTLAND, Ore. — The number of Oregonians sick enough to be hospitalized with coronavirus hit a new low Sunday, with state officials reporting 92 active hospitalizations.
That number represents a significant drop of more than 40% from the 156 reported hospitalizations on April 8, the first day state officials disclosed active hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Hospitalizations have been heading downward almost ever since, and the number of Oregonians stood at 128 last Sunday. The tally dipped below 100 for the first time Saturday.
“We are gratified to see that Oregonians’ efforts to flatten the curve continue to work,” Katrina Hedberg, a senior health advisor for the Oregon Health Authority, said in a statement.
“One of the key reasons for flattening the curve was to keep hospitalizations to a level our state could manage," she continued. "And the ongoing trends in that area – including today’s hospitalization data – continue to give us hope that we can keep COVID-19 from overwhelming our state even as we move towards reopening.”
The declining number of active hospitalizations appears promising but comes with some grim caveats.
The health authority since April 26 has reported 22 deaths and 17 of those were among people who had been hospitalized. Those deaths helped reduce Oregon’s overall tally of active hospitalizations.
And among the 92 Oregonians currently hospitalized with COVID-19, some are very ill. State statistics show 33 are in intensive care and 18 require ventilators to help them breathe.
But the overall decrease in hospitalizations in recent weeks means fewer people are being admitted with new cases of coronavirus, even after accounting for deaths.
At least 598 Oregonians have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since state officials identified the first infection Feb. 28. As of Sunday, the state has identified 2,680 Oregonians who have been infected with the virus and 109 have died.
Oregon has one of the lowest infection rates in the country among residents tested. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a statewide stay-at-home order March 23 but is now looking to reopen parts of the economy.
Some rural counties or regions with no or few infections could reopen starting May 15. There’s no timeline for Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas or Marion counties, where 75% of all infections statewide have been identified.
-- Brad Schmidt; firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-294-7628; @_brad_schmidt
This article was originally published by The Oregonian/OregonLive, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving health issue.
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