Coronavirus_NIH.jpg

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. (Courtesy of NIAID-RML)

The news moves pretty fast, and cases of COVID-19 in Oregon continue to rise. The Daily Emerald summarized some of the top developments of the past week.

Lane County

There are 284 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Lane County. Two people are currently hospitalized and a total of three people are suspected to have died. Sixty-three people qualify as currently infectious. At least 27,961 tests have been conducted on Lane County Residents.

Workplaces continue to remain centers for transmission, said Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis. El Torito Grocery Store had a cluster of seven infected employees, KEZI reported Wednesday.

“Where that workplace transmission is happening is not necessarily in the public facing component of the businesses. It’s happening when workers are taking their breaks and when they're having their lunch break,” Davis said. Break rooms are often small and employees are in close quarters, he explained. Transmission becomes much more likely when they take their masks off to eat.

“We’re not seeing the transmission happen from a worker to a member of the public who might be frequenting that business, but really amongst the workers themselves,” Davis said.

Under Oregon Health Authority rules, workplaces with clusters of five or more infected people, such as the El Torito cluster, must make the public aware. El Torito has been following all procedures and guidelines.

Additionally, a staff member at Target on Gateway  tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email from a Target spokesperson. The store placed the employee on paid quarantine leave since testing positive and is reportedly following all health guidelines.

University of Oregon

Six University of Oregon students in Eugene have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 6, according to UO statements and data. This brings the total number of infected UO students in Eugene to 32, with 22 of these cases confirmed in the last two weeks.

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According to UO, “the increase of cases in the UO community is a direct result of small and large gatherings, with no face masks, limited physical distancing, and sharing drinks and vapes.”

In a press conference on July 9, Davis said that the total number of individuals in the college-aged cluster has increased to 52, despite the trend slowing significantly in recent days.

“The University of Oregon, LCC and a lot of our other partners have been very active in trying to reach out to some of these age groups and helping bring some of the messages that we need to communicate to them,” Davis said. “And, we’re seeing great cooperation and participation as well.”

However, Davis said that the demographics of who has contracted COVID-19 has changed. “45% of our overall cases are under the age of 30. This is a big shift,” Davis said.

On campus, the Erb Memorial Union restarted limited services, including counter service and takeout in the food court. They also opened the northern ground floor to the public for studying and Wi-Fi access and added a current visitor estimate on their website that counts how many people are in the building.

Statewide

OHA announced 332 new confirmed and presumptive cases statewide Sunday, raising the total to 12,170. There have been 234 known deaths in Oregon related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to OHA’s daily press briefing, COVID-19 is spreading most effectively through social activities involving groups of younger people. Recent outbreaks have been traced back to exercise classes, a fraternity party and a bachelor party.

In the briefing, OHA wrote that “Oregonians have not consistently modeled the behavior needed to contain the spread of COVID-19,” and recommended that everyone continue to limit the size of gatherings, stay six feet away from each other, cover faces and find alternative ways to participate in social events.

News Reporter

Nick is a news reporter for the Daily Emerald. Send him story ideas at nrosenberger@dailyemerald.com.