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Oregon surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 cases, but rates continue to decrease

Oregon has surpassed 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, health officials said Thursday. The state’s death toll is 2,660.

Oregon Health Authority Director Dr. Patrick Allen said this is a reminder that the pandemic is not over.

“As we head into the Memorial Day holiday weekend, this milestone is a grim reminder that while case counts are decreasing statewide in large part due to vaccination, there remains a risk of COVID-19 in Oregon, especially for those who are not yet vaccinated,” Allen said in a press release. “I urge caution for Oregonians who are not yet vaccinated. You are still at risk of infection and should wear a mask indoors and practice physical distance precautions.”

Despite the grim milestone, Oregon’s daily case count, hospitalizations, deaths and positivity rates have been decreasing.

OHA reported Wednesday that during the week of May 17, the number of daily cases decreased by 25% from the previous week. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations during that week were 224 — the lowest figure in five weeks.

Earlier this month, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown set statewide and county COVID-19 vaccination targets, with the hope of reopening the state’s economy.

Brown said most statewide coronavirus related restrictions will be lifted when 70% of Oregon’s residents who are 16 years and older receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Currently, more than half of Oregon’s eligible population who are 16 or older have received at least their first vaccine dose.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Alex Hasenstab