▶️ St. Charles: Central Oregon has not yet seen brunt of latest COVID surge


Researchers at the University of Washington last week predicted COVID cases in the United States would peak at 1.2 million on Jan. 19

That day has arrived, but the story isn’t playing out for everyone, including Central Oregon. 

Local experts debriefed Deschutes County Commissioners on Wednesday about the state of COVID in the area. 

“The peak for Oregon…if you go to the OHA website, they’re going to show that to occur during the last couple days of January. Maybe that’s been moved to the first couple of days of February, I’m not certain,” said St. Charles Senior Data Scientist Dr. Michael Johnson. “Here in Central Oregon, I’m not seeing that peak occur until mid-February.” 

Cases are still steadily increasing, with Central Oregon seeing a 30% increase over the past two weeks. 

“Last week we had about 3,500 cases diagnosed and added to our system, and this week we had 4,500,” she said. Emily Freeland, the Deschutes County COVID-19 Response and Recovery Supervisor, spoke about the numbers in the county alone.

Hospitalizations have not hit a point of relief just yet, with St. Charles reportedly caring for 58 COVID patients on Wednesday. 

That number is up 35% from last Wednesday, Jan. 12, when there were 43 COVID patients in the hospital. 

It is also up 100% from two weeks ago on Jan. 5, when there were 29 COVID patients in the hospital. 

Johnson said the situation could still be far worse. 

“We are seeing considerably more breakthrough cases from those who have been vaccinated or even boosted who are being infected,” he said. “But thankfully it is still having a very positive effect on reducing the number of hospitalizations.” 

Until the mid-February peak supposedly hits, things will likely get more difficult before any relief comes. 

“Whatever we’ve been experiencing here in January, we have not yet seen the full brunt of this surge,” Johnson said. 

Around the country, other areas have been seeing a plateau or a drop in cases this week. 

New York and other northeast states, along with other areas throughout the country, have reported stark drops in COVID cases over the past week. 


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