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New COVID case numbers in Lane County are “staggering”

Thirty percent of about 400,000 Lane County residents have not yet had a primary COVID dose.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff
Davis said 30% of Lane County's 400,000 residents have not yet had a primary COVID dose.

Lane County Public Health says COVID case numbers over the last few days are, quote, “staggering.”

Jason Davis is with the county. He said there were about 60 new cases daily until a couple of days ago, when the number hit triple digits, “Effectively doubling in just a 24-hour period, and then that has happened again now today with 272 cases." He told KLCC, "We believe that the trend is now firmly established and we will see this continue.”

Davis said this surge might last until April, with potentially 200 more deaths. He said they haven’t done much sequencing, but at least half the cases are likely the omicron variant. Davis warned while omicron may be less severe, it is not less severe for everybody, and only a quarter of the population has had a booster shot.

Starting next week, the number of county testing clinics will triple. Davis urged people to use the tools they’ve learned over two years to keep hospitalizations and deaths down.

Good judgment will help ring in a safer 2022

With new COVID cases climbing fast in Lane County, it’s time to have a hard look at your New Year’s Eve plans. County health spokesman Jason Davis said New Year’s is trickier than Hanukkah or Christmas. “The nature of the holiday is to get together with people you don’t know and celebrate the commonality of ringing in a new year," he said, "and from an infectious disease standpoint, that can be very problematic.”

Davis said public health will not close down venues or monitor parties, but it’s up to the public to make good choices and limit the spread of disease. He said people who are unvaccinated or un-boosted should skip the parties, and fully vaccinated and boosted people should also make safe health choices, so that 2022 gets off to a good start.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.