Covid weekly report for Jan. 20: Local cases increase

Reports of new Covid cases increased in Marion and Polk Counties, and decreased statewide.

In December, Gov. Kate Brown issued several executive orders aiming to provide more resources to health care facilities amid a sustained surge of Covid, flu and RSV cases. Salem Hospital again began diverting ambulances to other hospitals due to capacity issues after Thanksgiving, a temporary practice that is used as needed to manage hospital capacity. The hospital last diverted on Jan. 4, according to spokeswoman Lisa Wood.


As of Friday, Jan. 20, Salem Hospital had 25 inpatients with Covid. Of those, four were in the ICU and two were on a ventilator.

353 of the 415 adult acute and critical care beds were in use, or 85%.

416 total hospital beds were in use on Friday. The hospital recently expanded its licensed bed capacity from 494 to 644 with the addition of a new tower, but that total includes every potential licensed bed at Salem Hospital including those dedicated to specific uses, like pediatrics, inpatient psychiatry, and labor and delivery.

The daily number of hospitalized Covid patients has remained between 24 and 33 over the past week, according to Wood. Last week, the daily number was between 22 and 32. 

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 43 people hospitalized with Covid as of Jan. 18, compared with 39 the week prior and 47 two weeks ago.


For the week ending Jan. 18, the average daily number of new Covid cases reported increased in Marion and Polk Counties, and decreased statewide compared to the week prior.

Marion County: 35.1 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 70.9 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s up from 32.3 average daily cases last week and 31.4 two weeks ago.

10.4% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 9.8% last week and down from 10.7% two weeks ago.

The Oregon Health Authority reported two newly identified deaths of county residents with Covid in the past week.

Polk County: 10.4 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 82.1 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s up from 9.6 average daily cases last week and 8.9 two weeks ago.

12.4% of Covid tests this week were positive, an increase from 10.9% last week.

The Oregon Health Authority reported zero newly identified deaths of a county resident with Covid in the past week.

Oregon: 331 new cases per day on average, down from 347 average daily cases last week and 411 two weeks ago; 7.7% of tests were positive, down from 8.7% last week.


The Oregon Health Authority has a data dashboard showing trends in cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status. 

The most recent data as of Dec. 25 shows Covid infection, hospitalization and death rates continue to be highest among Oregonians not vaccinated against Covid compared with those vaccinated as recommended, which includes a booster shot.

Hospitalization rates in December were six per 100,000 unvaccinated adults, compared with two per 100,000 vaccinated as recommended.

The data will next be published in mid-February.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.