The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported more new cases Thursday than any other day throughout the pandemic.
The team reported 44 new cases Thursday, breaking the previous record of 38 cases set Nov. 21.
“We cannot even begin to tell you how hard it was to see and report the case numbers today. Disappointed would be an understatement,” the team said in a press release.
Over the past three days, the county has reported 116 new cases. That’s the highest three-day consecutive total.
“We have been very fortunate over the last 11 months to be one of the top five counties in the United States with the lowest case counts. But we are seeing that success slip away,” the release said.
The release said the team for the first time feels “we are losing our edge in combating this pandemic,” but it’s not giving up.
If the downward spiral continues, the worsening case numbers could jeopardize the county remaining in the state’s high risk level. It needs to remain at under 200 cases per 100,000 population over a two week period to avoid being pushed into the extreme risk level — a change that would force some struggling businesses to close their doors again.
Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in a press release the increase is “terribly disturbing.”
He said he has seen more gatherings and some “unfortunate laxity with physical distancing and the use of face masks.”
The biggest outbreak is at a skilled nursing facility in Roseburg, he said. It has gone from a single positive case Feb. 5 to more than 33 positive cases as of Thursday, Dannenhoffer said.
He did not name the care facility. It did not appear in the state’s weekly outbreak report Wednesday, which often has a time lag for reporting.
So far, that outbreak has not been linked to any hospitalizations or deaths, he said.
The COVID-19 vaccine was offered to staff members and patients at the facility. Ninety percent of those who chose to be vaccinated were protected from contracting the virus, he said.
“This is proof that the vaccine works. If you are a front line caregiver and are eligible for the vaccine, please get it!” Dannehoffer said.
He said he’s also seen an increase in the cases connected to schools, churches, parties and travel. The school cases amount to 44% of the current outbreaks.
A few have also been workplace outbreaks. No large outbreaks have been related to gyms, restaurants or bars.
All were related to people failing to keep social distance and wear masks, he said.
No new deaths were reported Thursday.
Twelve county residents are hospitalized with the illness, nine locally and three out of the area.
Douglas Public Health Network is supporting 227 people with COVID-19 who are in isolation, as well as another 460 people who have been in contact with an infected person and are in quarantine.
The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday reported 621 new cases and 12 new deaths.
Statewide, 623,909 vaccinations have been given. Of those, 7,512 have been given in Douglas County, according to the health authority.