Live updates: Oregon passes 20,000th COVID-19 diagnosis

By Courtney Sherwood (OPB)
Aug. 6, 2020 1 p.m. Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 9:43 p.m.

More than 20,000 Oregonians have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to the Oregon Health Authority. The agency announced 267 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 diagnoses Thursday and one new death.

Since the start of the pandemic, 20,225 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Oregon, 339 are known to have died with it, and 4,065 have been confirmed as recovered.

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An 83-year-old man from Umatilla County is the most recent confirmed death. Officials said he tested positive on July 16 and died on Aug. 1. He had underlying medical conditions.

The counties with the most new COVID-19 diagnoses Thursday were Multnomah with 45, Marion with 33, Washington with 30 and Umatilla with 27.

Related: COVID-19 by the numbers

20-somethings more likely to get COVID-19 diagnosis

People in their 20s continue to be the most likely to test positive for coronavirus, the Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday.

More than one in five diagnoses since the start of the pandemic has been of a 20-something adult, but this age group is far less likely to be hospitalized or to die after infection. The virus continues to be most deadly to older adults, and has been fatal to one in five people diagnosed after the age of 80.

A breakdown of severity and rates of COVID-19 by age group in Oregon found that:

  • 855 children age 9 and younger have been diagnosed with the virus, 2.1% of them were hospitalized, none have died.
  • 1,953 children and teens age 10-19 have been diagnosed with the virus, 1% of them were hospitalized, none have died.
  • 4,202 people age 20-29 have been diagnosed, 2.5% were hospitalized, one has died.
  • 3,385 people age 30-39 have been diagnosed, 4.2% were hospitalized, three have died.
  • 3,220 people age 40-49 have been diagnosed, 6.3% were hospitalized, five have died.
  • 2,470 people age 50-59 have been diagnosed, 10.8% were hospitalized, 20 have died.
  • 1,593 people age 60-69 have been diagnosed, 20.1% were hospitalized, 61 have died.
  • 977 people age 70-79 have been diagnosed, 33.3% were hospitalized, 86 have died.
  • 681 people age 80 or older have been diagnosed, 36.6% were hospitalized, 152 have died.

Positive test results, hospitalizations climb

The Oregon Health Authority released its weekly report Wednesday with a review of COVID-19 data from the week of July 27 through Aug. 2.

It found that the percentage of tests returning a positive result has increased from 5.1% to 6.4%. That’s still better than the national average of 8.7% positive test results, according to Centers for Disease control figures. The World Health Organization advises that positivity rates should be at 5% or lower for two full weeks before communities begin to reopen.

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The state report said that 141 people were hospitalized in Oregon with the coronavirus in the most recent week, up from 127 people a week earlier.

In most cases, health officials were not able to identify how newly diagnosed people became infected.

Pacific Islanders have Oregon’s highest infection rates

Coronavirus infection rates among Pacific Islanders are about 12 times that of white Oregonians, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority.

Pacific Islander migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau have long felt barriers to medical access. Known as Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants, they are allowed to live and work in the United States legally, but cannot access social safety nets the same way American citizens can. COFA migrants have difficulty accessing programs like unemployment benefits and the Oregon Health Plan.

Lack of access to health care has resulted in high rates of chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension which put them at higher risk of COVID

Related: Pacific Islanders in Oregon experience disproportionate rates of COVID-19

Clark County reports 45 more cases

Clark County, Washington, is edging closer to its 2,000th coronavirus case. The county reported 45 new positive tests Wednesday, bringing total diagnoses to 1,991. The number of people who have died of the virus held steady at 40.

Statewide, 60,084 people in Washington have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 1,624 have died, according to the latest data available from the state.

How a Portland veterinarian continues to care for her furry clientele

Veterinarian Dr. Katy Felton’s love for animals is only matched by the care and sympathy she has for her four-legged clients.

“I grew up in a small town in Oregon, and we had just enough land that we could rescue a lot of critters. So we always had two or three dogs and a handful of cats and I had rabbits and rescued a couple of ducks, you name it — guinea pigs, all of it,” Felton said.

After 12 years of practicing as a vet, Felton opened her own practice in January. Then the pandemic hit. With some ingenuity and patience, Felton has been able to adapt her work to the new normal of life under COVID-19.

Related: How a Portland veterinarian continues to care for her furry clientele

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Pacific Islanders in Oregon experience disproportionate rates of COVID-19

Kanani Cortez reports for NPR’s Next Generation Radio. Pacific Islanders are being hit hard by COVID-19, and have higher rates of illness than any other racial group. Joe Enlet is from Chuuk, Micronesia, and is a pastor and advocate for the Micronesian community in Oregon. Enlet says despite the grief and mourning, he remains hopeful because his community is finally being heard.