Health officials have confirmed Oregon has passed the peak of the omicron surge of the coronavirus that started in December.
The latest forecast from Oregon Health & Science University, released Thursday, shows that hospitalizations in the state topped out at just over 1,100 on Jan. 27.
Now hospitalizations are on decline to reach pre-surge levels by the end of March, according to the forecast. The Oregon Health Authority reported that 1,007 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Oregon as of Thursday.
Oregon’s indoor mask mandate is set to be lifted no later than March 31, a move that was announced by the state Monday. But OHSU’s lead data scientist Peter Graven says it’s still important to mask up between now and then. State health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger echoed that message in a conversation with Think Out Loud on Thursday.
Graven’s COVID-19 projections show that if the mask mandate were lifted today, hospitalizations would likely continue to rise. And he pointed out that Oregon hospitals are still struggling to provide care for everyone who needs it.
Graven also said maintaining public health measures – including indoor masking – helped reduce the spread of the omicron variant in Oregon over the last two months.
As omicron’s grip on Oregon loosens, the OHA was scheduled to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Friday to address the status of the pandemic in the state. Watch it below:
This story may be updated.