COVID-19 has claimed eight more lives in Oregon, bringing the pandemic’s death toll in the state to 311, health officials reported Wednesday, one day after a record 14 deaths were recorded.
The Oregon Health Authority also reported 304 new confirmed and presumptive cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total diagnosed with the virus to 17,721 since the start of the pandemic. Multnomah County accounted for 82 new cases, followed by Washington County with 51 and Clackamas County with 28.
Schools staying shut
Some of Oregon’s largest school districts announced Tuesday — with many more following suit Wednesday — that they won’t reopen for in-person instruction until at least November.
Gov. Kate Brown announced coronavirus testing benchmarks counties would have to meet for schools to reopen Tuesday afternoon. Almost immediately, a cascade of press releases from Oregon school districts hit email inboxes. Portland Public Schools, Salem-Keizer, Beaverton, North Clackamas and Tigard-Tualatin all say they’ll start the school year online. Chemawa Indian School, the boarding school for Native American students outside Salem, announced its remote learning plan earlier in the week.
Oregon will require a combination of two metrics (with limited exceptions) for schools to reopen:
- The county in which a school is located must have 10 or fewer diagnosed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day span, three weeks in a row.
- The county in which a school is located must have a test positivity rate of less than 5% over a seven-day span, three weeks in a row.
The latest guidelines are subject to change. But at present, Wheeler County is the only Oregon county that meets state criteria that would allow a full reopening to in-person learning.
No new deaths in Clark County
Clark County reported 10 additional coronavirus cases Wednesday and no new deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, 1,727 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the county and 37 have died.
The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health shows 54,205 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 1,548 deaths.