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Most coronavirus cases in county began in processing plants

OHA Director Patrick Allen
Thursday, July 30, 2020

Clatsop County saw five more positive cases of COVID-19 during the past week On Wednesday, a woman in her 60s and a man in his 40s were reported positive for the virus. Both live in the north part of Clatsop County.

Cases at Da Yang Seafood in Astoria rose to four after having all 160 employees tested last week.

After a worker in his 30s showed symptoms in mid-July, he was tested and determined to be positive. Both of Da Yang’s plants were closed for deep cleaning.

Three additional employees have tested positive. They are a man in his 40s, a woman in her 40s and a man in his 50s. All live in the north part of Clatsop County.

The Public Health Department awaits results from a few of the remaining workers.

As of Wednesday, the county has had 73 total cases since March 23, with 65 of them recovered. The rest are convalescing at home.

State figures

The state’s death toll rose to 311 on Wednesday, with a total number of cases statewide of 17,721.

Patrick Allen, director of Oregon Health Authority, took the benchmark of 300 deaths as an opportunity to reach out.

“As we surpass 300 deaths related to COVID-19, including the 14 deaths reported today (July 28), I wish to extend sincere condolences on behalf of everyone at OHA to the families who have lost a loved one to this disease,” Allen said. “It is a stark reminder of the work all Oregonians need to do to bring this pandemic under control. Together we can slow this disease and prevent this terrible loss of life.”

County dashboard

Oregon Health Authority published an expanded version of its “outcomes by county” dashboard. The dashboard includes more information on weekly trends in the percent of COVID-19 tests that have been positive by county and weekly trends in the total number of persons tested for COVID-19 by county.

It shows Clatsop, for instance, with a population of 39,332, zero deaths and a 2 percent positive rate on the 3,484 tests administered here.

The rate of infection (18 per 10,000 people) in Clatsop is higher than its two neighboring counties. Tillamook has a 9 per 10,000 rate and Columbia a 13 per 10,000 rate.

The local rate of infection still is a far cry from Portland-area counties (51 for Multnomah, 31 for Clackamas, 72 for Marion.

A piece of good news is that the positivity rate for testing dropped in the past week. During the week that ended July 26, 42,252 people were tested for COVID-19 and 5.1 percent had a positive result, down from 6.6 percent the previous week.

Clatsop shows a trend similar to other rural counties, such as Malheur, which have a low population base but high infection rate (192 per 10,000 people). Most of the infections have come from outbreaks at processing plants, where much of the work is completed in close quarters.

Extra unemployment ends

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program ended July 25.

The program was created through passage of the federal CARES Act, and gave Oregonians eligible for unemployment benefits an extra $600 per week.

Since the program began March 29, the Oregon Employment Department paid out more than $2 billion in extra pandemic benefits.

“This is going to have a significant impact on Oregon families and communities,” said David Gerstenfeld, the department’s acting director. “Just last week, the department paid the extra $600 to more than 130,000 Oregonians.”

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