The Oregon Health Authority's weekly COVID-19 report released today includes two notable pieces of information: The number of reported cases jumped 18 percent after declining the previous two weeks; and, for the first time, OHA disclosed businesses that have had more than five cases among employees.
"During the week from Monday, May 25, through Sunday, May 31, OHA recorded 353 new cases of COVID-19 infection, an 18% increase from the previous week (289 new cases)," the report says.
That change comes as most of Oregon's counties (with the notable exception of Multnomah County) have begun reopening.
The number of people tested last week increased, as well, but only by 5 percent. That means a slightly higher percentage of those tested were found to have the disease, although the rate of positive results remains at less than 2 percent.
"The slightly higher percentage of tests that are positive suggests either a small uptick in COVID-19 incidence or that testing is more focused on people who have had an exposure or have symptoms and less on the 'worried well' who have neither," the report says. "Public health officials will be monitoring this closely."
The second notable inclusion in this week's report is the disclosure, for the first time, of workplace outbreaks of five or more people. (The report has previously listed outbreaks at congregate living facilities such as nursing homes.)
"Nineteen sites have ongoing outbreaks," the report says. "The presence of correctional facilities and food packing and agricultural worksites on this list is illustrative of the challenges of controlling COVID-19 in settings where people must work or live in close proximity. In addition, people of color are overrepresented in agricultural and correctional settings, perhaps contributing to higher rates of COVID-19 observed in these groups."
OHA cautioned against stigmatizing companies that have experienced outbreaks.
"Unless otherwise advised by public health officials, these worksites or their products do not pose any greater risk to the public," the agency said. "In fact, discriminating against worksite employees or avoiding their products might jeopardize the economic viability of essential local businesses."
Here's the list. OHA said the outbreaks have caused six deaths, but did not say which facilities were associated with those deaths.