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State reports 416 new COVID cases
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State reports 416 new COVID cases

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The Oregon Health Authority reported 416 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including seven in Benton County and four in Linn, bringing the statewide total to 18,131.

OHA also reported five fatalities, raising Oregon’s death toll to 316 since the coronavirus pandemic began.

If confirmed, the tally of seven new cases would be a new daily high for Benton County, according to county spokesperson Alyssa Rash, but she noted that some of those cases are still considered presumptive pending test results. The county’s daily record for confirmed cases is six, Rash said.

Benton County has now had a total of 148 cases and six deaths, while Linn County has had 233 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths from the disease.

Charlie Fautin, the interim co-director of the Benton County Health Department, noted that the mid-valley’s case numbers remain relatively low and said he didn’t want to overreact to a single day’s tally. But he did express concern about the steady stream of positive test results in the region since restrictions on social gatherings and some business operations were eased several weeks ago.

“I am concerned that we’re seeing the effects of social mixing,” he said. “We’re still not seeing the results of big events and big clusters, but we’re seeing twosies and threesies that are the results of social interaction.”

Fautin said some people seem to be fooling themselves into thinking they’re safe because they only associate with a small “bubble” of friends. But each of those friends, Fautin said, have other groups of people they associate with, creating overlapping social networks that can increase the possibility of exposure.

“The virus is still out there,” he said. “If they’re not wearing masks and keeping their distance, the virus will jump from one to another.”

The latest Oregon fatalities included a 78-year-old man and a 68-year-old woman in Umatilla County, as well as three Multnomah County men, ages 85, 82 and 66. All reportedly had underlying health conditions, according to OHA.

OHA’s weekly summary report indicates that there are no current outbreaks at workplaces or congregate care facilities in the mid-valley. The report states that each of Samaritan Health Services’ hospitals in Corvallis, Albany, Lebanon, Newport and Lincoln City had between one and nine confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 65,935 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 and 1,417 deaths from the disease on Thursday. Those numbers bring the total U.S. case count to 4,405,932 and the national death toll to 150,283.

Bennett Hall can be contacted at bennett.hall@lee.net or 541-812-6111. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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