Douglas County reported 15 new COVID-19 cases Monday, including 11 people who tested positive and four presumptive cases.
That followed a spike of 25 new cases Sunday, which shattered the previous record of 21 set on Saturday. In all, 61 new cases have been added since Friday.
The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team called the new figures “disconcerting” and “staggering.”
“This is definitely not the trend we wanted to see happening in our County. The exponential growth in unrelated cases is affecting a wide number of schools, care centers and workplaces in all parts of the county,” the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said in a press release.
The first week of November saw the highest weekly total to date, with 78 new cases, 67 positive and 11 presumptive.
Approximately 589 people are now being supported by Douglas County in isolation and quarantine, and seven patients are hospitalized locally with the disease.
The new numbers bring Douglas County’s total cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 497.
Meanwhile, Coos County public health officials reported today that they have been affected by an outbreak sourced to a Douglas County Halloween party. Five of seven cases identified so far from that party are in Coos County residents.
Eric Gleason, assistant director of Coos Health and Wellness, said this was a party for adults held by an organization, but he didn’t know which organization was involved. He said investigators are looking into the incident.
Gleason said health officials typically see spikes after holidays.
Up to 50 people are still allowed to gather indoors, and Gleason said he believed this gathering involved no more people than that, although he did not have an exact figure.
“We know that when people have holidays, they want to gather, because we’re humans right? We want social interaction, and we might have a little bit of COVID fatigue. But we let our guard down and stuff like this happens almost every time,” he said.
Douglas County is not alone in facing dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 874 new cases on Sunday and another 723 new cases on Monday, bringing the total to 51,155 cases statewide since the start of the pandemic.
With one new death reported statewide Sunday and four new deaths on Monday, the number of Oregonians who have died of COVID-19 has reached 734.
Three of the deaths were in Lane County, and included an 84-year-old man, a 79-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man.
The fourth death was an 86-year-old woman who died at Salem Hospital.
And the death reported on Sunday was an 82-year-old man in Washington County.
All five had underlying conditions. No new Douglas County deaths were reported Sunday or Monday.
County public health officials are pleading with the public to follow basic safety procedures to help prevent the spread. Chief among these are wearing masks in public, washing hands, remaining six feet away from people not in your household, and remaining home if sick.
The county also recommends minimizing travel and attendance at social gatherings.
“An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure — and that’s never been more true than right now,” the Response Team’s press release said.
The governor instituted a two-week pause on activities for Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Jackson, and Umatilla Counties on Friday. The new restrictions are based on caseloads and could be applied to Douglas County in the future if its case numbers continue to grow.
The pause applies to counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period.
Where it has been applied, the “pause” has included additional limits on gathering indoors. Restaurants, gyms and some other indoor facilities would have to limit to 50 people indoors. Churches are not included. Social gatherings would be limited to six people and indoor visits to nursing homes would be barred.