DATA: Salem area still far from coronavirus targets to reopen schools in-person

A Covid-19 test swab is packaged up to be tested during a free drive-through testing clinic at Woodburn Ambulance Service on Tuesday, August 25. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

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Marion County will be challenged to open schools in-person anytime soon, according to the latest coronavirus data from state and county public health officials, though Polk County is close to targets for letting the youngest students back into classrooms.

Marion County saw some improvements this week in both the number of new Covid cases reported and the percentage of tests coming back positive, but both numbers remain far higher than Gov. Kate Brown’s thresholds for reopening local schools.

About 9% of Covid tests this week came back positive, lower than last week’s count of 10%, but still higher than the 5% state target to reopen schools. The number is a rough measure of how widespread the virus is in the community.

Marion County added 258 cases of Covid this week, slightly fewer than the 270 new cases reported last week. To date, 3,964 county residents have been diagnosed with Covid, 330 have been hospitalized and 81 have died. The county reported three deaths from Covid this week.

Marion County would need to see about 35 new Covid cases weekly to hit the state target for school reopening.

Polk County this week added 31 new Covid cases and two new deaths, bringing the county total to 15 deaths since the pandemic began. That’s about three times as many cases than allowed if schools are to reopen fully, though the county’s percentage of tests positive is under 5%.

Since March, 441 Polk County residents have been diagnosed with Covid. None are currently hospitalized, according to the county health department’s website.

Here are the latest numbers for both counties.

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

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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.