COVID image

A deadly spike in COVID-19 infections that began just before Independence Day should near its end around Christmas, a new state forecast said Thursday, Oct. 14.

But with more than two months to go to reach the projected end point, about 177,000 more infections are expected in the state, according to the Oregon Health & Science University weekly forecast released late Thursday.

The Oregon Health Authority said Friday that hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue a steady decline in Oregon, with 563 infected patients hospitalized on Friday, less than half the 1,178 recorded Sept. 1

Hospital Region 7 covers eight central Oregon counties and includes Bend and Klamath Falls. Rates of hospitalizations and deaths remain “stubbornly high” in the region.

St. Charles Bend had 70 COVID-19 patients according to a Friday OHA tabulation, the most in the state. It reported 11 COVID-19 patients in its intensive care unit, the second highest in the state.

Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls had 25 COVID-19 patients, the fifth most in the state.

The statewide spike in infections, which began in the first week of July and peaked just after Labor Day, has steadily tracked downward since, the report said. The spike was driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

However, the forecast projects that the state still has 2.5 months until it might reach “herd immunity” for the delta variant. OHSU says that is when 85% of the population is either vaccinated or has been exposed to the virus.

The university’s virus modeling projects that Oregon will arrive at that point around Dec. 26.