COVID cases, hospitalizations surge in Oregon and Marion County

Oregon announced Monday, Jan. 3 that the state had recorded its highest single day COVID count with 3,534 cases reported for Dec. 30. A day later, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, Oregon reported 4,540 COVID cases — over a thousand more than the previous record. that record was surpassed today as they state reported 6,203 new cases.

While a surge in COVID cases following the holiday season was expected with the more contagious omicron variant, Oregon’s hospitals are also seeing a steep increase in hospitalizations over the last week.

Dr. Peter Graven, director of OHSU’s Office of Advanced Analytics, projected last week that January’s hospitalizations from the omicron variant could hit 1,650. That would dwarf the previous peak that occurred in September, when 1,187 people were hospitalized. 

Currently, there are 510 hospitalized COVID patients across the state and the Oregon Health Authority reported Tuesday that 44 new deaths from COVID. 

Additionally, there are a total of three adult ICU hospital beds available in all of Oregon’s Region Two, which includes Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties. 

Salem Hospital has already begun seeing a steady increase in COVID hospitalizations. A month ago, on Dec. 2, there were 38 COVID inpatients at the hospital and 482 of the hospital’s 494 beds were in use.

On Jan. 4, there 58 COVID inpatients at the hospital and a total of 539 licensed beds being used — 45 more than capacity. 

The Oregon Health Authority and health experts across the state continue to push the booster shot as being the best way to protect Oregonians from COVID. Gov. Kate Brown made a goal on Dec. 17 of boosting a million more people by the end of January. Since Dec. 17, 216,977 more people have gotten the booster shot. 

Marion County Health & Human Services reported on Dec. 12 that 66% of Keizer’s residents had been vaccinated. 

Marion County Public Health has opened a vaccination site at 3455 Aumsville Hwy SE in Salem that operates Monday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The vaccination site is an outdoor drive-through and no appointment is needed.