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OHA: Wildfires, air quality affecting COVID-19 testing

OHA: Wildfires, air quality affecting COVID-19 testing

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STOCK PIX COVID-19 Testing 19

A technician works on a coronavirus test.

The Oregon Health Authority says wildfires and hazardous air conditions in the state are affecting COVID-19 testing.

Testing numbers over the past few days have dipped, and this is a lagging data point as tests are often reported several days after specimen collection.

The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory was closed Monday due to poor indoor air quality that was deemed too hazardous to safely use appropriate air safety equipment, including hoods.

No specimens were accepted or tested Monday, and those already received at the laboratory were being held at appropriate temperatures pending testing, OHA said.

OHA on Monday reported 151 new confirmed and presumptive cases and two new deaths attributed to COVID-19. None of the new cases or fatalities came from Benton or Linn counties.

The new confirmed and presumptive cases reported Monday came from the following counties: Clackamas (18), Columbia (1), Coos (1), Deschutes (3), Douglas (3), Jackson (4), Jefferson (1), Klamath (1), Lane (19), Malheur (13), Marion (11), Morrow (2), Multnomah (27), Polk (1), Umatilla (23), Union (1), Wasco (1), Washington (18), and Yamhill (3).

The reported deaths were an 87-year-old Lane County man who tested positive Sept. 1 and died Sunday at home and a 92-year-old Washington County woman who tested positive Aug. 20. Her date and place of death were being confirmed. Both had underlying health conditions.

The state now has 511 deaths and 29,484 reported cases. Oregon’s cumulative positive test rate through Sunday was 4.57%.

In its weekly testing summary for the week ending last Saturday, Sept. 12, OHA reported 5.6% (965) of 17,365 tests were positive. The positive percentage is the highest since the week ending Aug. 1.

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