More than 21,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Oregon, and the pandemic’s far-reaching impacts have touched nearly every corner of life across the Pacific Northwest. That will be exceedingly clear in Salem Monday, when the state Legislature convenes for its second special legislative session in two months.
In a short span between the start of the year and the full impact of the pandemic, Oregon lawmakers went from debating how to spend millions in unexpected revenue to facing a budget ravaged by the virus and a bleak economic future. The state budget will be front-and-center this session, but lawmakers may also tackle changes to the unemployment system, which has been overwhelmed by jobless claims from people put out of work by the coronavirus.
The Oregon Health Authority announced 263 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 diagnoses Sunday and one death.
The bulk of the new cases were in the Willamette Valley region with 66 in Multnomah County, 42 in Washington County and 28 in Marion County. Additionally, Umatilla County reported 40 new cases.
Oregon’s most recent confirmed COVID-19 death was a 72-year-old Multnomah County man who tested positive on Aug. 2 and died on Aug. 6 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. He had underlying medical conditions.
Since the start of the pandemic, 21,272 people in Oregon have tested positive for or are presumed to have the virus, and 356 people are known to have died with it.
Health officials said Friday that the weekly growth in cases seems to have plateaued, though they cautioned that if people do not continue to wear masks and avoid crowds the pandemic could surge again.
“We cannot let our guard down,” said Dean Sidelinger, the state’s epidemiologist.
Clark County, Washington, has now had more than 2,000 COVID-19 diagnoses. The state announced 26 more positive test results on Friday and one new death. That brings total diagnoses to 2,018, and deaths to 42.
Statewide, 63,072 people in Washington have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 1,688 have died, according to the latest data available from the state.