How does Oregon's COVID-19 response measure up?

"Oregon had roughly 65 deaths per 100,000 and if you look at other states, they're at 150 or over 200."

Posted: Jun 28, 2021 6:57 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Since the start of the pandemic, 2,763 Oregonians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and doctors expect that number to grow throughout the next few months.

"We expect there will be a small number of cases throughout the summer and then a fall surge," Lane County Public Health's Dr. Patrick Luedtke said.

That would be the state's fifth surge in cases, leaving many people wondering if opening up by next Wednesday is the right choice.

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"We know that there's still plenty of virus out there and vaccination rates are actually very variable across the state," said Brett Tyler, the director of Oregon State University's genome sequencing project.

But in comparison to the rest of the country, the majority of doctors agree Oregon's COVID-19 pandemic response was better. That includes Dr. James McGovern, PeaceHealth's chief medical officer.

"Oregon had roughly 65 deaths per 100,000 and if you look at other states, they're at 150 or over 200," McGovern said.

As of today, Texas has seen 180 deaths per 100,000 people. If Oregon had that many, the state's death toll would be more than 7,000 as opposed to nearly 2,800.

MORE: IS REOPENING BY JUNE 30 SAFE FOR OREGON? MEDICAL EXPERTS WEIGH IN

For the most part, hospitals throughout the state have not been strained as much as those in other parts of the country. Luedtke spoke about the situation in Lane County.

"We never got overwhelmed in the hospital space," Luedtke said. "We never got overwhelmed in most of the clinical spaces. That's because we all worked together."

But on the economic front, many Oregon businesses succumbed to the constantly shifting restrictions and changing guidelines.

"I think we have to recognize the economic impact that this has had," McGovern said. "That was costly as far as jobs and businesses."

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