During the weekend, Oregon surpassed 300,000 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, the state health authority reported on Monday.
Although COVID-19 related hospitalizations have declined since Friday, 93% of Oregon's hospital beds for adults are full and there are just 62 adult intensive care unit beds available in the state.
Between Friday and Sunday, health officials say there were 32 deaths due to COVID-19. To date, the state's death toll since the start of the pandemic is 3,446.
Oregon is in the midst of its worst COVID-19 surge since the start of the pandemic — which health officials say is fueled by unvaccinated people and the highly transmissible delta variant.
The latest projections from the Oregon Health & Science University, released last week, shows that while hospitalizations have peaked, the current COVID-19 surge is far from over. The new forecast predicts that hospitals across the state will remain under severe strain for the next two to three months.
In addition, the health officials have reported “sharp increases” in daily deaths associated with COVID-19.
“This grim trend follows several weeks of record, or near record, daily cases and hospitalizations,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said on Wednesday. “Oregonians should be prepared to see this tragic toll escalate dramatically in coming days and weeks.”
Health officials and Gov. Kate Brown continue to urge people to get vaccinated.
Currently 67% of the states adult population are fully vaccinated. But in some parts of the state — seven of Oregon’s 36 counties — 50% or less of the adult population remain unvaccinated.
In an attempt to ramp up vaccination efforts staff and volunteers in K-12 schools, health care workers and state employees in Oregon are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.
Sara Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.