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Oregon reports record number of COVID-19 cases and deaths

Thirty more Oregonians have died of COVID-19, pushing the state’s death toll to 1,003, the Oregon Health Authority reported Friday.

“Today, Oregon marked a tragic milestone in the COIVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a news release. “This disease has touched every Oregonian. It has taken a devastating toll on our families, our communities, our businesses and our physical and mental wellbeing. On this somber day, our hearts go out to all the families and friends who have lost a loved one and to all Oregonians who have suffered and sacrificed during this pandemic.”

The ages of those who died ranged from 52 to 96, with 10 women and 20 men. Twenty-three were confirmed to have had underlying medical conditions, OHA officials reported.

OHA officials also reported 2,176 new cases of the disease, a new daily record. The new cases increased Oregon’s total number to 81,437.

Three of the reported deaths were from Jackson County, Jackson County Public Health reported.

County officials also reported 172 new cases of the disease in the county, raising the local total to 4,202. Of that amount, 681 cases are considered infectious.

A 94-year-old woman who tested positive on Nov. 9 died Dec. 3 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. Another 94-year-old woman tested positive Nov. 10 and died Dec. 1 in her home. A 77-year-old man tested positive Nov. 11 and died Dec. 2 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. All three patients had underlying health conditions.

The new cases pushed the local death toll to 41, public health officials said.

The 172 cases is the highest daily amount since the start of the pandemic, but a key reason for the seeming spike was an update to the Oregon Health Authority’s electronic disease surveillance system, used by state and local public health authorities to manage COVID-19 cases, which prompted a temporary shutdown earlier this week.

“Jackson County Public Health was unable to process new cases during the shut-down on the evening of December 1, 2020,” public health officials said in an email. “Therefore today’s daily case report is higher than expected.”

The number of Oregonians hospitalized because of the disease decreased to 557, two fewer than Thursday’s 559. Of that number, 115 patients are in intensive care unit beds, six more than Thursday’s 109.

Jackson and Josephine counties had 54 COVID-19 patients who remained in the hospital Friday, an increase of four from Thursday. Of the two-county region’s 57 staffed ICU beds, 48 were occupied. Of the region’s 445 non-ICU beds, 377 were occupied.