DATA: Hospitalizations flat as virus cases grow in Marion, Polk counties

The popular statue of former Governor Tom McCall in Salem’s Riverfront Park, has become a photo destination after getting a pandemic update. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

The Salem area is meeting four of five state public health metrics for controlling the spread of the coronavirus, according to updated data released Aug. 6, with hospitalizations flat across Marion and Polk counties even as the area added hundreds of new cases.

Marion County reported 248 residents newly-diagnosed with Covid in the past week, and since March has 2,789 cases of the virus and 68 deaths.

Polk County reported 29 new Covid cases in the past week, for a total of 305 since the pandemic began. Twelve county residents have died from the virus, and Polk County’s most recent death was reported May 30.

A screenshot of the Oregon Health Authority’s county metrics dashboard shows indicators updated on Aug. 6, 2020.

The counties met state benchmarks for the number of new cases added and the percentage not traced to another person known to have the virus, as well as promptly contacting people newly-diagnosed.

But Marion County saw a rise in the percentage of people testing positive for the virus, bringing the region’s figure to 7.7%. That’s higher than Oregon’s average of 5.9% for the same period.

Gov. Kate Brown last week placed Marion County on a state watch list because the county had seen too many “sporadic” cases of Covid, meaning cases that can’t be linked to a known source. That placement led county epidemiologists to review recent data and retroactively link about 30 cases to social gatherings.

Though that work brought Marion County below the state threshold for the watch list, Brown announced Thursday the county would remain on the list “out of an abundance of caution … to monitor for any increases in community spread.”

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

The Oregon Health Authority reported hospitalizations were up slightly in Marion County for the two-week period ending Aug. 1, and down slightly in Polk County over the same period, resulting in a flat trend for the region. Polk County does not publish daily new hospitalizations, but reported three county residents were hospitalized with the virus as of Aug. 5.

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

SUPPORT ESSENTIAL REPORTING FOR SALEM – A subscription starts at $5 a month for around-the-clock access to stories and email alerts sent directly to you. Your support matters. Go HERE.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.