Lane County health officials warn of a new spike in cases

Public health officials are attributing this rise in cases to an increase in social gatherings.

Posted: Mar 26, 2021 6:46 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2021 8:55 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Lane County Public Health is warning the public to not let their guard down after a spike in cases this week.

Friday was the first day Lane County entered the lower risk category, the first county to do so in Western Oregon. But this may be short-lived.

24 cases were reported on Wednesday and 34 cases were reported on Friday. Public health officials are attributing this rise in cases to an increase in social gatherings. On Thursday, officials said two separate social gatherings resulted in 17 new cases.

Dr. James McGovern, the Vice President of Medical Affairs for PeaceHealth, said the rise in cases is concerning. 

"You've got the variants that are definitely in the community and we've opened up," Dr. McGovern said. "So you got more people gathering, you're indoors, there are more infectious variants and we still have only vaccinated less than 20 percent the population of Lane County."

Even though cases are slowly going back up, Dr. McGovern said hospitalizations have been consistently low at PeaceHealth. He said they're averaging four to seven people in the hospital with COVID-19 on a single day. This is a dramatic decrease from PeaceHealth's peak back in November when the hospital was averaging in the mid to low 30's every day. Dr. McGovern said in order to keep cases low, the public needs to continue to follow all health guidelines.

"It's just how far up do they go and if they plateau again and at what level do they plateau again," Dr. McGovern said. "I don't think we have a really good sense of that right now. There's a lot of variables, so we are just watching it closely and really emphasizing people continuing to do what they're doing with things they've done over the last year."

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