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Crook County had highest daily COVID-19 numbers this past week as did the state

Weekly case counts of COVID have steadily surged in Crook County for the past four weeks.

Crook County has seen one more fatality from COVID in the past week, in addition to two deaths in mid-October.

"I am expecting we will have our highest week total this week," commented Crook County Public Information Officer and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Vicky Ryan on Friday, Nov. 6.

Ryan added that two of the deceased had underlying conditions, which according to state terminology is "death with COVID." She said that the last death was a contact of someone who tested positive for COVID and became sick and was hospitalized. He later passed away and had an autopsy, with results more than 13 days afterwards. The results were positive for COVID at that time.

"It isn't uncommon anymore for them to go ahead and test them if they are deceased," she said.

In the past four weeks, Ryan has kept a daily record of cases. During the week of Oct. 11 through 17, Crook County had 13 additional cases. The week of Oct. 18 through 24, it rose to another 22 cases, with 14 additional cases the last week of October. As of Friday, Nov. 6, the weekly cases stood at 20. Recovered numbers remain unchanged at 27, with 105 active cases as of Nov. 6, and a cumulative case count of 136.

Ryan confirmed that there had been some cases at Ochoco Manor Apartments, which she clarified was not to a point of being an outbreak by the state.

"That's all contained, and we were able to identify the source of all the infections and they isolated. We haven't had any new infections there."

She went on to say that there was a small group of infections at Desert Gardens Apartments, which was also contained. Ryan emphasized that there has only been one community-spread case, which is the most concerning. An example would be shopping at a local retail and then getting ill, but not knowing or tracing back to where it was contracted.

Ryan said that the uptick in cases is concerning. She said that the 770 cases for the state on Friday is also an alarming trend, with cases around the state on an upward trend. Saturday, Oregon reached a daily high of 988 cases, followed by 874 on Sunday, Nov. 8—pushing the state total to more than 50,000 cases.

In a news release from Gov. Kate Brown's office Friday, the Governor commented, "Unfortunately it's spreading at an unprecedented rate. It is extremely concerning. It's alarming that a majority of these cases are not linked to any specific outbreak, but rather symptomatic of broader community spread."

Following the news conference, she ordered a two-week pause in social activities, starting Wednesday, Nov. 11, for counties experiencing more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases for counties with fewer than 30,000 residents. The counties immediately affected are Multnomah, Jackson, Umatilla, Marion and Malheur counties. Five others on the "cusp" include Washington, Clackamas, Linn, Baker and Union counties.

"We have seen more socialization," Ryan pointed out of Crook County's surge in cases. "The cases that we have are contributed to social gatherings, and people are getting more relaxed. I think there is a lot of COVID fatigue out there, and believe me, no one feels it more than our health department right now."

"Our consistent messaging is that it is out there, and we have always known it was out there," Ryan concluded. "Now that people are starting to relax, it is starting to show up – people are indoors more. We have to stay diligent and we have to maintain the regulations."

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