Oregon passed another grim milestone Wednesday—400 deaths from the COVID-19 virus—even as state officials expressed mild optimism that infections were declining.

This afternoon, Oregon Health Authority announced 11 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 408 since the pandemic began.

The state has seen its death rate increase in August, likely a result of the surge of transmissions in early July. (Deaths tend to lag several weeks behind infections.)

But in a weekly report published today, OHA noted that infections, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining week over week. Hospitalizations, among the strongest indicators of the pandemic's severity, fell from 143 last week to 115 this week. As WW previously reported, the positivity rate for tests remains above 5%—the threshold set by Gov. Kate Brown for returning students to school classrooms.

Large workplace outbreaks remain concentrated in food processing plants and prisons. The largest active outbreak in the state is at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, where 209 inmates and guards have been sickened. Some inmates began a hunger strike this week over the conditions in that prison.