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The Oregon Health Authority director said Oregon is at a 'tipping point' and warned that hospital capacity is a concern.

KOIN 6 NEWS - Oregon hospitals are feeling the strain from COVID-19 cases.A record number of COVID-19 cases were reported for the second day in a row in Oregon on Friday.

The state saw 1,306 cases and four new deaths on Friday, Nov. 20, a day after 1,225 new cases and 20 more deaths were announced Thursday.

Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen said Oregon is at a "tipping point" and warned that hospital capacity remains a concern. He also addressed an upcoming change in the way the state reports on test results — they now will report the number of tests performed instead of the number of people tested.

"Over the last few weeks, as case counts have skyrocketed, the difference in percent positivity as counted by these two methods has sharply intensified. We see that our most recent percent positivity calculation of 12.9% drops to 6.7% under our new test-based method," Allen said.

"Oregon tests at a level that is comparable to most other states," Allen said. "We're right in line with other states per capita."

The state has increased testing by 60% since the beginning of October. Health Authority Senior Health Adviser Dr. Melissa Sutton said more than 966,000 people — or nearly one in four Oregonians — have been tested.

Christine Bartlett, the director of Critical Care at Oregon Health & Science University, spoke during Friday's briefing and warned that there soon may be a point at which there are enough hospital beds, but not enough staff members to care for them. She said OHSU has more than 50 critical function staff on quarantine due to community exposure.

Allen expressed his condolences to those who have lost a loved one and said the state public health agency is determined to slow the spread of the virus.

"I have heard frequently from those who have refused to believe this pandemic is serious if we aren't seeing hospitalizations and deaths. Those hospitalizations and deaths are here, and are only likely to go up," he said. "Please take this seriously, and do what you can to slow the spread: wash your hands, wear a mask, and limit the number of people you come in close contact with."

KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.


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