New OHA model shows possible ‘exponential growth’ in future COVID infections

The Oregon Health Authority released a report Friday that suggests Oregon could see an “exponential growth” of new infections in the next month, resulting in as many as 900 to 4,850 new cases per day.

In the report, the OHA said models suggest virus spread has increased in Oregon since reopening began on May 15.

Based on the data through June 18, the OHA models show three different projections of what the next month could look like.

The optimistic scenario suggests the case count will stay stable at about 180 new cases per day over the next month. The OHA said this is the “least likely” scenario because it assumes all new infections will be diagnosed, which the OHA called “implausible” because one-third of diagnosed cases still don’t have a known source.

The moderate scenario projects that daily infections could rise to more than 900 new cases per day in the next month, with about 27 daily hospitalizations. This scenario suggests that the rise in cases Oregon is currently experiencing is from an increase in virus transmission and expanded testing.

The pessimistic, or worst-case scenario, projects that cases could rise to more than 4,800 new cases per day and 82 daily hospitalizations. This scenario suggests the current rise in cases is based on increased transmission and not based on expanded testing.

“This latest model provides us with a sobering reminder that we all need to guard against continued spread, especially as we continue to reopen and the weather gets warmer,” Dean Sidelinger, an Oregon state health officer, said.

Sidelinger said people should do what they can to suppress the virus’ spread, especially on the Fourth of July. Wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and staying outside in group settings are all ways to protect yourself against the virus, Sidelinger said.

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