City issues suspect COVID-19 numbers in email, KFD data is sharp contrast

On Friday, Oct. 2, Keizer city officials sent out a weekly email update that included a chart with the number of times Keizer Police Department (KPD) responded to calls related to COVID-19. 

The numbers were shockingly small, just three police calls in April and an additional call in May, but those figures were far from the full picture of the pandemic’s impact on Keizer. 

Given that those in a medical emergency are more likely to ask for the Keizer Fire District (KFD) to respond, Keizertimes asked KFD to supply us with the number of its calls regarding COVID-19. 

The fire district numbers are far from enormous, but the data provides a different window into COVID-19’s effect on the city. 

KFD has transported at least 20 COVID positive patients in since March. The number peaked in March with six patients, then fell off the following two months. In June, district crews transported four COVID patients and five more in July. 

KFD Deputy Chief Brian Butler said the numbers he was able to supply are not likely comprehensive, but represent the number of times Marion County Health Authority notified KFD that its crews had transported a COVID-19 positive patient after a test was completed. 

In September, the most recent month data was available, no verified COVID patients were transported. 

During the same timeframe the agencies were collecting data, there have been two outbreaks of COVID-19 at Keizer restaurants with at least five patients each and two outbreaks at Keizerassisted living facilities that totaled roughly 20 patients. It is not known how the recorded outbreaks overlapped with the data being collected by KPD and KFD.