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Infections expected to increase over next four weeks

The Oregon Health Authority expects COVID-19 infections to increase over the next four weeks. The big question is by how much.

OHA released new models Thursday that lay out three possible scenarios, one with a pessimistic outlook on the rate of infection, one optimistic and one plateauing, according to a news release. In all three scenarios, daily cases would increase over the next four weeks.

Under the most pessimistic outlook, in which transmission increases by 10 percentage points from the current rates, Oregon could see as many as 2,300 new daily infections by Aug. 13, along with 46 hospitalizations.

If transmission decreased by 10 percentage points, there would still be a daily increase in new infections, though the number would be markedly smaller — 600 a day by Aug. 13, with 17 hospitalizations, the modeling showed.

If the current transmission rate continues, infections would rise to about 1,600 new infections a day by Aug. 13, with 27 hospitalizations.

“The projections show the need for Oregonians to continue to wear face coverings, stay six feet apart and limit the size of social gatherings to bend the curve again,” OHA officials said.

The health agency reported 331 new cases in the state Thursday, including eight new cases in Jackson County, bringing the state’s total to 15,713 and pushing the Jackson County total to 273. Two more Oregonians died, bringing the state’s death toll to 273.

In Jackson County, 96 people are considered infectious. There have been 23 local hospitalizations from the disease, but no deaths, public health data show.