97303 COVID numbers still rising

The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the 97303 zip code have continued to escalate since mid-July. 

According to the most recent weekly report from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), a total of 290 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the zip code that includes all of Keizer and smaller portions of Salem. 

The number of COVID-19 positive tests leapt from 151 cases to 194 between July 7 and July 15, the positive test count then jumped to 230 cases by July 22. Two weeks later, on Aug. 5, the number of cases was up to 290. 

While the numbers have increased, the report does not identify the number of people in the 97303 zip code that have since recovered from the virus that continues to rock the globe. In Marion County, there have been more than 2,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19. It’s among the highest number of cases in the state, but has a substantially lower testing rate (983 daily tests per 10,000 residents) than other counties seemingly taking a harder hit (Morrow, Umatilla and Malheur counties are testing between 1,200 and 1,400 people per day).

After high transmission rates in May and June, decreases were recorded in July that erased the upward trajectory. COVID-19 transmission rates are now around where they stood on May 1, according to a weekly OHA report on projections and trends. 

“The results indicate that average statewide transmission increased substantially after reopening, then decreased somewhat. It is now at the same level as in early May,” the report states. “Because we do not know how adherence to the physical distancing, face covering, and hygiene guidance will change over time, it is not possible to confidently predict future transmission levels.”

While Keizer businesses are not on the list of identified outbreaks of coronavirus, the Oregon State Penitentiary, Santiam Correctional Institution, Salem Hospital, NorPac, Brucepac and the Salem 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. Outbreaks and two deaths have been linked to Keizer senior care facilities.