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Omicron variant fuels surge of new COVID-19 cases in Oregon

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The Omicron variant is surging throughout Oregon, causing increased COVID-19 case loads and hospitalizations.

This story was updated with corrected data from OHA.

Based on data from the Oregon Health Authority, the Omicron variant is here and fueling a record-breaking surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Days into the new year, case rates are increasing--in some places exponentially. Lane County reported the rolling seven-day average of cases per hundred thousand is 370 ---the highest it’s been since the Delta variant surge last August.

And this is just the first week of the omicron surge.

When numbers were tallied after the holidays, the state acknowledged its largest single-day total of new cases was on December 30. That’s 3,534 cases—in one day. This announcement was followed by data from OHA indicating there were 4,307 new cases of COVID-19 reported statewide on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

COVID-19 hospitalizations around the state are going up-- as are the number of patients requiring intensive care. In Region 2 which includes Linn and Benton counties, there are only two adult ICU beds available.

Health officials stressed this is a very different surge. They said responsible behavior of every person is paramount to reducing the spread of the omicron variant.

Lane County tracks the new surge

Lane County Public Health officials have been tracking the rate of increase in new COVID-19 cases and they agree: “the Omicron surge is upon us.”

Spokesperson Jason Davis said they believe the new surge started last Thursday when the county saw a single-day case count of 272.

“We believe what’s different about this surge is that the Omicron variant likely makes up quite a few of these new cases,” he said. “Also the holiday travel and the time of year we are currently in—probably all add to this current surge and potentially could make for a very high number of cases in a short amount of time.”

Omicron is less severe than past COVID variants however it is highly transmissible. Davis warned continued increases in new cases will likely mean a dramatic rise in hospitalizations.

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Upsplash
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Public Health officials warn continued increases in new cases caused by the Omicron variant will likely mean a dramatic rise in hospitalizations.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.