The average daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Oregon fell by 35% in the week ending Feb. 21.

The Oregon Health Authority's COVID-19 weekly report says that's "the third consecutive week of falling case counts, and the lowest total" since the week ending Oct. 4.

The decline occurred following an ice storm and power outage that briefly paralyzed much of the Willamette Valley and might have slowed reporting of new cases. But the number appears to represent a true decline in cases, since the percentage of positive tests was roughly equivalent to last week: 3.5%.

Another sign the decline is real: Hospitalizations also fell, by 42% to 159 from 272.

There were just 17 COVID-19 deaths reported for the week—the lowest since the week ending July 5.

The declines come even as the state has seen nine documented cases of the U.K. variant of the coronavirus among the cases, which experts say could drive another surge in cases this spring.

There were 74 ongoing outbreaks at nursing facilities or other congregate living facilities, defined as three or more confirmed cases or one or more COVID-19-related deaths. That's notable as nursing homes and seniors were given priority in the vaccination effort.