“We need people to make a lasting change in their individual behavior and that lasting change will have to be with us for months,” said the Dir. Pat Allen said.
PORTLAND, Oregon – Nearly 39,000 Oregonians have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
On Friday, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 418 new cases. Six other people have died, meaning the virus has now claimed 617 lives in the state.
The OHA called the trends an “encouraging landscape reversal”
After the unusual year we’ve had, you might be tempted to celebrate Halloween the way you usually do. But, unfortunately, state health officials are urging you to skip larger social gatherings or trick-or-treat this year.
The new OHA models show more haunts and people heading inside as the weather changes – where the coronavirus thrives – could worsen a discouraging trend.
“We are asking Oregonians to take individual actions. A different Halloween and a different fall than we could have wished for will begin to change the trajectory and we have to bend this downward trend. We have done it twice,” OHA Director Pat Allen said Friday in a media conference call: “But it will require a coordinated, consistent and sustained effort and rigorous vigilance.”
Coronavirus cases are as high as during the pandemic. Positive test rates and deaths are on the rise, while hospitalizations soar.
Biggest driver of the surge: Oregonians who hang out in larger groups.
RELATED: COVID-19 cases increased 40% in Multnomah County in September, health official says
“It is both a disbelief in risk, not perceiving the risk that applies to them, and we tend to let our guard down around friends and family,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, an Oregon state health official.
The health authority cited research showing that those who meet more frequently and with more people tend to question the severity of COVID-19.
“Are people really focused on my child or myself and ‘what are the chances of it having a negative outcome? I’m willing to take that risk.’ And people, I think, are not yet thinking about the risk of giving it to others who are. vulnerable, “director Allen said.
Due to these factors, the numbers look similar to those of July, when community spread was rampant.
“Part of what we’re trying to get people to do is not to think of the coronavirus as something that comes and goes, so we can blast something special and then go back to what we were doing before,” Allen said. “We need people to make a lasting change in their individual behavior and that lasting change will have to be with us for months.”
In addition to informing us, the Oregon Health Authority must fight disinformation. They dispelled the rumors on Friday, particularly about the flu and vaccines, citing clear data showing that COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal flu.
Health officials say prominent people who downplay the severity of the virus make their jobs even more difficult.
They want to make sure young and healthy people understand that while the risk of serious infection or death is lower, the risk is still there.
“We have yet to learn the long-term effects of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sidelinger.
Director Allen doesn’t think living with the virus for the long term – before a vaccine comes out and is widely spread – should mean staying home and keeping everything closed.
“This is the balance we are trying to achieve, is how can we live with this virus and have a functioning society and do it safely? And we think we can,” he said.
But it falls on all of us; the same preventative measures that health officials have been repeating for months still ring true. We need to stay alert by washing our hands, covering our faces, staying physically distant, and not gathering in groups.
The OHA also announced that it has submitted its plan for a vaccine assignment and distribution in Oregon once one or more safe and effective vaccines are available. The state would prioritize communities and color and those who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.