COVID-19 surge hitting Keizer hard

The COVID-19 surge is hitting Keizer harder than many other areas in the state.

On Wednesday, June 17, the Oregon Heath Authority’s (OHA) weekly report on coronavirus cases found that the 97303 zip code had 24 more cases than just a week prior. The tally made Keizer one of the top nine areas in the state where coronavirus is spreading, according to a report by The Oregonian, which is keeping track of the weekly upticks throughout the state. 

The 97303 zip code was also the only one of the top hot spots that was not linked to a large outbreak from a single facility, workplace or event.

Each week, the OHA is releasing pandemic-related statistics on the virus’ spread throughout Oregon. On June 10, the OHA reported Keizer had 86 reported cases of COVID-19 infection. A week later, the number jumped to 110.

As of June 24, the number of COVID-19 cases spiked again to 143, an increase of more than 20 percent.

While Keizer does not have an identified outbreak of coronavirus, the Oregon State Penitentiary, Santiam Correctional Institution, Salem Hospital, NorPac, BrucePac and the Amazon facility, all in neighboring zip codes, have had reported outbreaks. 

It is possible that Keizer’s surge in cases could be linked to those outbreaks and employees that live here, but those details are not part of OHA’s reporting. 

A previous outbreak at The Oaks at Sherwood Park that included 14 known cases of COVID-19 and one death has been contained. The only other reported outbreak linked to Keizer was three cases and one death at Avamere Court at Keizer.

On Monday, June 22, Marion County set a new record with 51 residents newly-diagnosed individuals with COVID-19. It was the highest one-day total since the first local case on March 9.

After leading the country in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, Oregon has experienced three consecutive weeks of surging COVID-19 numbers. 

“The number of new infections reported daily are now at the highest levels seen in Oregon since the emergence of COVID-19,” the report states. 

Hospitalizations and deaths are well below the peak in the state. That might sound reassuring, but hospitalizations and deaths are most likely to occur two weeks after the onset of the disease. 

Another report by the OHA on the trajectory of the disease in Oregon found: “The aggressive community interventions in Oregon were effective in dramatically reducing COVID-19 transmission … but that transmission appears to be increasing since reopening.”

It is not yet known how or if recent protests might have contributed to the spread.