New data released by the Oregon Health Authority on April 7 shows that 14 percent—or nearly 1 in 7—confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide are of health care workers. About 74 percent of those workers had direct contact with a patient, the data says.
That number may not come as a surprise for some of those workers, who have for weeks been urging government agencies to issue them more personal protective equipment, or PPE, to stave off the virus. Several health care workers who spoke to WW in the past two weeks said they think it's inevitable they will contract COVID-19 from work.
Health care workers are a particularly at-risk group for contracting the virus. But another 12.2 percent of the state's confirmed cases were among people in congregate living, such as retirement homes, prisons and shelters. The data shows that just a quarter of confirmed cases statewide had direct contact with another case. This number could be a result of several factors, like limitations in the state's testing capacity—or the fact that the virus is easily transmittable by people who are asymptomatic and from touching contaminated surfaces.
The OHA report also breaks down confirmed cases by race, although more than one-third of the racial data is unaccounted for. What is available, though, shows that white people make up 41.1 percent of cases, despite representing 86.8 percent of the population, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Most of the other racial groups do not show disproportionality. In some ways, this makes Oregon an outlier: States across the country report the virus is disproportionately infecting and killing black Americans. It's worth noting, however, that the data says Hispanic people represent 18.4 percent of the confirmed cases, while Census Bureau data says they make up 13.3 percent of the population, demonstrating a slight disproportionality.
Finally, the data shows the most common symptoms of those who tested positive for COVID-19: 66 percent had a cough, 49.8 percent had a fever greater than 100 degrees, 42.5 percent had shortness of breath, and a little more than 30 percent had a headache, chills and muscle aches. Eleven percent reported a loss of smell.
As of Wednesday evening, 1,239 Oregonians had tested positive for the coronavirus and another 38 had died.