Oregon health officials released another round of bleak projections for the spread of the COVID-19 virus, saying the state could see as many as 7,300 cases a day by the end of July.
The dire new modeling works off the hypothesis that Oregon is only diagnosing about a quarter of its new viral infections—and that the state is already experiencing 1,100 new cases per day. (The official cases have yet to top 400 a day.) The Oregon Health Authority now warns if residents don't stay home and wear masks, that number could increase to anywhere from 3,600 to 7,300 new cases each day.
In the worst-case scenario, Oregon hospitals could be faced with 76 severe cases per day, straining its capacity of intensive care beds.
"The bottom line is that the disease is spreading more rapidly than expected and that since reopening, Oregonians have not consistently modeled the behavior needed to contain the spread of COVID-19," OHA said in a statement.
In announcing these new findings, OHA officials blamed much of the virus's spread on informal social gatherings. They said they had traced COVID-19 outbreaks to a fraternity party, a bachelor party and exercise classes. The agency declined to provide additional details, such as how many people were sickened at these events or where they occurred.
Even as some experts call for Gov. Kate Brown to reclose bars and dine-in restaurants, OHA maintains that informal gatherings are causing far more infections than visits to businesses. Of the 48 active workplace outbreaks listed by the state, just two appear to be dine-in restaurants: Georgie's Beachside Grill in Newport and the Margarita Factory in Beaverton.
Today's new COVID cases decreased from Thursday's record-setting total: OHA listed 275 new cases statewide, 37 of them in Multnomah County.