COVID-19 cases in Multnomah County have been steadily declining since a peak more than two months ago, when the weekly case count topped 1,500.
During the week of Nov. 21, the county saw just 492 cases, according to health department data. There were 12 hospitalizations, at their lowest since July.
The low numbers come as health experts have identified a new variant of concern, named Omicron, though it’s not yet clear what danger the new coronavirus poses. This morning, officials announced the first Omicron case detected in the U.S., at the San Francisco International Airport.
“It will take time for us to learn more about this particular variant,” says county spokeswoman Kate Yeiser. “We expect vaccines will still provide good protection. So we would encourage anyone who hasn’t already to please get their vaccines. Those who are due for a booster should go ahead and schedule that.
“Aside from vaccines, the same preventative measures will continue to help: wearing masks, keeping your social circles small, practicing good hand hygiene,” Yeiser continued. “So we have vaccines. We have boosters. We have masks. And then we have personal choices around contact with others and limiting travel. We have tests that help us identify cases.
“But aside from that, we need to wait and see.”
Nearly 75% of Multnomah County residents have had a least one dose of vaccine, leaving just over 200,000 unvaccinated, including young children who are ineligible.