COVID-19 Spread Increases in Oregon; Hospitalizations Hold Steady

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This week the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported a 10.4% test positivity rate for COVID-19, which indicates ongoing high community transmission in Oregon, based on data reported to health officials during the week ending Jan. 6.

“The continued high amount of spread of COVID-19 in Oregon is made clear to us in the fact that many of us have recently been sick or know of someone close to us who has been sick with COVID-19,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “The good news is that the same safety measures we’ve practiced throughout the pandemic to protect us from severe illness will also protect us now. Top of that list is getting vaccinated with the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine.”

Test percent positivity reflects the portion of a sample of COVID-19 test results (performed in health care settings, not at home) that are positive. Several Oregon laboratories submit test results to public health, and OHA publishes the data.

The OHA said over time, test percent positivity has proven to be an extremely accurate measure of COVID-19 community transmission, correlating with wastewater surveillance data that Oregon collects and reports weekly. Both tools can be found on the OHA Respiratory Virus Data homepage.

Recent COVID-19 transmission is driven by Omicron subvariants, and no new subvariant is predicted to cause more severe disease. While Omicron JN.1 has recently become the predominant subvariant circulating in Oregon and across the country, there is no evidence it causes more severe disease.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate in Oregon has remained stable over recent weeks, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicting continued stability in Oregon through January.

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