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Oregon again smashes single-day record with 6,203 new COVID cases

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Oregon again smashes single-day record with 6,203 new COVID cases

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Oregon set another record for cases of COVID-19 reported in a single day, reporting 6,203 new cases on Wednesday.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) also reported nine more deaths in its daily update Wednesday, pushing the state death toll to 5,719.

According to OHA, 523 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, 13 more than was reported Tuesday. Hospitalizations have been slowly but steadily climbing since the omicron variant was first found in Oregon in early December.

Test positivity rates reached a shockingly high 20.6%.

Wednesday's case numbers eclipse the record set Tuesday — 4,540 cases — by nearly 2,000 and pushes the seven-day average to more than 3,300 new COVID cases per day. The previous single-day record of 3,534 cases was logged last Thursday. Prior to that, the all-time single-day record had been 3,207 cases on Aug. 27, when the state was at the height of the delta surge.

Even though so far it appears the omicron variant is somewhat less severe than its delta counterpart, Oregon health care workers are steeling for a surge of new patients that researchers predict will eclipse the delta peak simply due to the transmissibility of this variant. Oregon has the fewest hospital beds per capita in the country, and hospitals are strained even further by staffing shortages.

The spike in cases is enough to force changes at some local school districts. Portland Public Schools announced it is returning to COVID protocols for extracurriculars and sports, and the Beaverton School District said it would pause its Test-to-Stay program that allowed unvaccinated students exposed to COVID to stay in school while regularly being tested, because the district does not have the staffing to run the program due to COVID-related absences.

Public health officials have stressed that while there is a greater chance of the omicron variant causing symptomatic infection in vaccinated people, COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the chances for severe illness.

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