COVID-19 Trends

With 173 new cases in the last week, the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Malheur County is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The above graph shows the rate of new cases over 15 weeks, since our first lab-confirmed positive case was reported the week of March 29th. These are only cases showing a current, active infection.

The Oregon Health Authority’s most recent Public Health Indicators Report shows the following within the last 7 days as of July 8th:

  • 19.6% positive test rate (uptrend)
  • 125% increase in cases (should be no more than 5%)
  • 46% of cases not traced to a known source (should be no more than 30%)
  • Uptrend in COVID-19 hospitalizations over last 14 days
  • Good news is that 99% of cases had follow up within 24 hours from MCHD
  • More good news: .7% of ED visits for COVID-like illness

As record numbers of Oregonians, including those in Malheur, have tested positive for COVID-19 recently, many have wondered if that’s simply due to increased testing. Although testing has increased, the positive test rate, which shows the prevalence of the virus, has increased. By offering tests to more and more people at a lower threshold, meaning people with fewer or no symptoms are included in testing, the positive test rate should go down as the number of tests increases. Last week, 497 COVID-19 tests were reported in Malheur County and the positive test rate went up to 15.1%. The takeaway is that COVID-19 is spreading more rampantly and we are not doing enough testing to keep up with the increasing infections. On July 7th, the Oregon Health Authority reported a statewide average of a 4% positive rate.

We are hopeful that by being transparent with as much data as possible, while protecting private health information, the public will better understand the increasing risk of COVID-19 transmission in Malheur County. Malheur County Health Department urges everyone to follow the preventive measures that will prevent outbreaks and protect those who are most vulnerable from severe illness or death.

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