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Oregon coronavirus cases continue to decline

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's weekly COVID-19 case count, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline following the state's worst coronavirus surge during the pandemic.

State health officials reported Wednesday that there were 462 new COVID-19 hospitalizations last week, a 10% reduction from the previous week and a continuation of a month of consecutive declines.

There were 114 reported COVID-19 related deaths, one less than the previous week.

In addition the Oregon Health Authority reported 10,400 new COVID-19 cases last week, a 9% decline from the previous week.

Although the number of coronavirus cases is improving in the state, the strain on Oregon's hospital system continues — with just 53 available adult intensive care unit beds available. In addition, more than 90% of the states non-ICU beds are filled.

The overwhelming amount of people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated, officials say.

While 70% of adults in Oregon are fully vaccinated, there are counties with significantly lower vaccination rates than the rest of the state. In 10 of Oregon's 36 counties, less than 55% of adults are vaccinated.

However, Monday marked the final day for certain workers in both Oregon and Washington to get a COVID-19 vaccine and keep their jobs.

In Oregon, teachers, state employees and healthcare workers are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 — meaning Monday was the final day for individuals to either get their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot — to be considered fully vaccinated by the statewide deadline.

While state officials hope the statewide mandate will increase the state's vaccination numbers, some healthcare facilities are seeing an increase in staffing issues.

KOIN reported that four local Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care were forced to close last Thursday due to “temporary staffing constraints.”

The locations in West Linn, Pearl District, Lake Oswego and Camas shut their doors until further notice. However, a spokesperson told the station they are consolidating services and expanding capacity at the locations in Oregon City, Raleigh Hills, N. Williams and Cascade Park.

Staffing is not the only pushback seen from this mandate. Last month, six people — including a fire chief, school bus driver, treatment coordinator and department of corrections employee — filed a lawsuit over the governor’s order.

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.