Aug 7, 2023 - COVID

Oregon keeps COVID hospitalizations in check

Illustration of a pattern of covid particles and positive signs.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

As COVID-19 hospitalizations and rates of positive tests rise in many parts of the country, hospitalizations in Oregon have recently gone down.

Why it matters: According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rising COVID cases and hospitalizations hint at how the virus will continue to be a predictable seasonal threat.

Zoom in: COVID hospitalizations rose 12% nationwide in the week of July 16–22 compared to the week before, but in Multnomah County they dropped 3.2% in the same time period, according to the CDC data.

Separately, Oregon Health Authority medical director for communicable diseases Paul Cieslak says high immunity rates play a role.

  • "Our wastewater data indicate brisk transmission of the virus," he said. "Fortunately, whatever immunity people have seems to be keeping most of them out of the hospital," he told OPB.

Yes, but: Tracking the virus' spread has become more challenging with the end of the public health emergency, which also ended a regular stream of COVID data.

The big picture: Infection levels are still relatively low, and immunity from prior infections and vaccinations means the virus is unlikely to reach the high levels seen during past fall and winter waves.

What we're watching: As respiratory virus season approaches, medical professionals and hospitals say they are gearing up in case they have to face another "tripledemic" of COVID, flu and RSV come fall.


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