Katrina Rothenberger, incident commander, sits for an interview in the COVID-19 incident command at the Marion County Health and Human Services office on Monday, July 13. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem-area health authorities reported about as many new cases of Covid this week as the week prior, with state data showing more community spread of the virus and fewer hospitalizations.

Since the pandemic began in March, 2,575 Marion County residents have been diagnosed with Covid. For Polk County, that number is 276 Polk County. Marion County reported 241 new cases of the virus this week, nine new hospitalizations and three deaths.

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Gov. Kate Brown added Marion County to the state's coronavirus watchlist Thursday, citing too many cases of the virus that could not be traced back to a known source, which indicates wide community spread.

The state's threshold for the watchlist is more than 50 cases not linked to another person known to have the virus per 100,000 county residents over a two-week period. It's not a number Oregon Health Authority publishes on its website, but spokesman Phillip Schimidt said Marion County reported 213 such cases of the virus from July 12 to 25, a rate of 61 cases per 100,000 residents.

Schmidt said the health authority would begin publishing those numbers online next week.

Marion County is currently meeting four of the state's five public health indicators for controlling the spread of the virus, including following up on new cases within 24 hours. The county is reporting an increase in the percent of tests for Covid coming back positive, which hit 7.1% for the week ending July 25, the health authority reported.

This week, Polk County reported 51 new cases and no deaths. The county does not report new hospitalizations daily, but as of July 30, four Polk County residents were hospitalized with the virus.

Polk County continues to have both fewer cases and lower rates of Covid than Marion County, but the average number of new cases reported daily has been growing since early July.

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Polk County is meeting two of five state measures for controlling the spread of the virus. Hospitalizations declining and health workers contacted 100% of people newly reported to have the virus within 24 hours for the week ending July 25.

But the county's percentage of positive tests and the number of new cases are increasing. And health workers couldn't trace 59% of new cases to a known source, indicating wide community spread.

Acting public health administrator Jacqui Umstead said that trend mirrors other counties.

"We still need the community to focus on all the ways to reduce their risk: physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, frequent hand washing, and staying home when ill," she wrote in an email.

Nearly all of the county's cases are in ZIP code 97304, which includes west Salem. That ZIP code has the highest rate of the virus among Polk County cities, with about 58 cases per 10,000 residents.

West Salem's infection rate is about the same as southeast Salem, ZIP code 97317, and a little lower than central Salem, ZIP code 97301, which has about 62 cases of the virus per 10,000 residents.

(Graphic by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

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