The news moves pretty fast, and COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Oregon. The Daily Emerald summarized this week’s top coronavirus news. See what you might have missed:
Lane County has 34 active cases, according to current Lane County Public Health data, bringing the total of COVID-19 cases to 611. Two are currently hospitalized. Lane County announced a fourth death related to COVID-19 on August 13. The individual, a woman in her 70s, was a Eugene-Springfield resident, and was hospitalized prior to her death, according to KMTR.
LCPH Public Information Officer Devon Ashbridge discussed LCPH’s surveillance report during the August 13 press briefing. The surveillance report offers “a weekly snapshot of COVID-19 in Lane County,” according to the report’s introduction, and is updated weekly.
Ashbridge pointed to a “disturbing trend” regarding Latinx community members affected by COVID-19. The Latinx community accounts for 24.4% of COVID-19 cases, she said, while only making up around 9% of the population.
To combat that, LCPH has conducted testing events directed towards the Latinx community, which she said have been helpful in reducing community spread. She said that of the cases discovered at the events, 75% were asymptomatic.
According to Ashbridge, sporadic or community transmission for Lane County has typically been at about 26%. For the week of August 9, however, that number jumped to 39%, a higher-than-average community spread.
“It is important that we do everything we can to limit that community spread,” she said.
Ashbridge said 35.6% of COVID-19 cases can be traced back to small gatherings or events, mentioning backyard barbeques in particular. “I know for a lot of people, those small family-based events seem harmless — and they’re important, we miss our loved ones, we miss spending time with them,” she said. “But often, those events don’t maintain the mask wearing and the distancing that are so important in limiting the spread.”
While 49% of cases are male, she said 61% of hospitalizations are male. Additionally, citizens 30 years old and under account for 46% of cases in Lane County, contrasting the state’s average of 36%. “Those numbers absolutely show that the myth that young people cannot contract or cannot spread coronavirus is just that, it’s a myth,” she said.
University of Oregon
Four University of Oregon students tested positive for the coronavirus, according to UO’s COVID-19 cases website, bringing the total number of campus-related cases to 47. Two of the new cases are travel-related, the website stated, while the other two are linked to other COVID-19 cases in Eugene.
UO President Michael Schill released information regarding fall term, but said that plans will “almost certainly” change before the term begins. UO will conduct COVID-19 testing for all students living on campus — once when they arrive, and at least one other time during fall term. The university will also randomly conduct voluntary spot testing of all UO students.
UO will not hold classes exceeding 50 students in person, but Schill said the university would be holding “a significant number” of classes in person. UO will accommodate students who wish to have all online class schedules, he said.
UO administrators, professors and faculty members partnered with LCPH to create the UO Student Corps to Combat Coronavirus, or “Corona Corps.” The program trains UO students to become certified contract tracers, as COVID-19 case numbers fluctuate.
Sixteen UO students began contact tracing work in July, according to Dennis Galvan, the dean and vice-provost for global health, with UO continuing to train more students.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 2,075 cases since August 7, bringing the state’s total to 22,300.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced on August 13 Malheur County would move back to phase one of reopening effective August 17. “I know this change is difficult,” Brown said in a tweet, “but immediate action is necessary in order to reduce the spread of the disease and protect all those who call Malheur County home.”