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Sobering statistics about COVID-19 have emerged during Columbia County Public Health Director Michael Paul's weekly briefing before the county board of commissioners.

Oregon Cases

Statewide, Oregon has 19,979 COVID-19 cases and 338 people have died from the disease, as of Wednesday, August 5, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

There has been a rise in cases, with about 6.1 percent of all cases being positive, which is up from last week, where about 5 percent of all cases were positive, according to Paul.

“That shows the virus is continuing to spread,” Paul said during the county commission meeting, Wednesday, August, 5.

The number of pediatric cases reported since June has risen sharply, Paul said, pediatric cases are far less likely than adult cases to develop severe symptoms.

“Just 26 cases have been hospitalized out of 1,700, that’s 1.5 percent of cases, in comparison to adults – almost 1,500 adult cases and almost 10% of all cases hospitalized,” Paul said, adding the report includes numbers through mid-July.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, headache, loss of smell, chills, diarrhea, nausea and shortness of breath. Pediatric cases report fewer symptoms across all those categories, according to Paul.

Those who want to know about access to testing locations, Paul said they can go to the Oregon Health Authority website for a statewide testing locator. Additionally, Paul said there is a testing location in Longview, Washington.

Testing is mostly for individuals who are symptomatic, Paul said, with limited testing for people without symptoms. Those without symptoms are usually tested because they have had known exposure to someone with COVID-19, or they are in a certain demographic group that is known to have increased risk for getting COVID-19, such as those with disabilities.

While Columbia County has not recorded any deaths related to the pandemic, Paul told the county commissioners that the county has 86 COVID-19 cases with 8 presumptive cases and 78 confirmed cases. There are also a number of people that Columbia County Public Health is monitoring, mostly due to known exposure. Paul said the county is completing daily monitoring calls for those people.

There have been a total of three hospitalized cases and 16 are considered infectious in Columbia County, according to Paul.

“You’re considered infectious from 10 days after symptom onset,” Paul said.

In addition to a rise in cases, Paul said there has been an increase in the number of people enrolling in the Oregon Health Plan, health insurance which is covered by the state for those who are low-income. The plan has experienced an increase of over 100,000 members since the emergency declaration on March 8, according to Paul.

Commissioner Alex Tardif asked if the increase in enrollment was due to the spike in unemployment rates, and Paul said he did not know, but said he would assume it is because of people who are now unemployed.

Commissioner Henry Heimuller also asked if there had been any improvement on the reports of both false negative and positive tests, which had been around 30-40 percent.

Paul said he could not answer that question, and that it would be better directed to the state labs.

Follow the daily pandemic updates here online with in-depth reports in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.

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