Oregon records highest daily COVID-19 case count - 1,225

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Health Authority reported three grim COVID-19 record high's Thursday, the state's largest daily number of confirmed cases, most daily deaths and people hospitalized for the virus.

There were 1,225 new confirmed COVID-19 cases increasing the state total to 60,873. There were 20 new deaths reported, surpassing the 800 death toll since the start of the pandemic.

“I have heard frequently from those who have refused to believe this pandemic is serious if we aren’t seeing hospitalizations and deaths," said Patrick Allen, the director of the state's health authority. "Those hospitalizations and deaths are here, and are only likely to go up."

The spread of the virus in Oregon has reached an alarming rate this month and officials have expressed concerns about hospitals reaching capacity.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon is 414, the highest number since the pandemic began and a 142% increase since the beginning of November, according to state health data released Thursday.

Of the deaths reported Thursday, two people were in their 30's while everyone else ranged from 40 to 95 years old.

The county with the largest daily case count was Multnomah — the state's most populous county and home to Portland — which recorded 376 cases.

In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Gov. Kate Brown mandated a statewide “freeze” on social activity, which began Wednesday. In Multnomah County, that freeze will last four weeks.

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Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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