The Oregon Health Authority today released what's become a closely tracked number: 6.1% of tests came back positive for COVID-19 in Oregon last week.
That means the state is not meeting the benchmark to reopen schools for in-person classes.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's sole statewide criterion for reopening schools is three consecutive weeks of 5% or lower positivity. (Counties also have to see the same 5% or less as well as 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 for three consecutive weeks.)
The positivity rate is also significant because a rate greater than 5% means that Oregon probably faces a shortage in testing capacity.
"Several major manufacturers have informed OHA that testing supply allocation to [Oregon State Public Health Laboratory] and clinical labs in Oregon may be reduced over the coming weeks due to the recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases nationally and increased demand for testing," OHA's weekly testing summary states. "These shortages are being addressed through testing on multiple platforms and recruiting additional laboratories for testing."
The Oregon Health Authority called it "one of the highest rates observed since the early pandemic."
Last week, four Oregon counties saw positivity rates above 10%: Jefferson (16.8%), Malheur (24%), Morrow (33.3%) and Umatilla (20.4%). Those numbers rival the positivity rates in the hardest-hit states in the nation.