Coronavirus

COOS BAY — Coos County's COVID-19 case numbers are "obscene," Coos Health & Wellness officials say.

If current rates continue, the county could see over 200 new cases of COVID-19 just this month — nearly double what the county saw in October, and the county's highest month of cases since the pandemic began.

The county's increase means that it's critical for residents to follow precautions and restrictions, like wearing face masks and cancelling large holiday plans, in order to slow the spread of the virus which threatens to close schools and take up hospital capacity.

"I think that we don't truly understand the severity of the situation," said Eric Gleason, CHW's assistant director. "It's obscene, the numbers that we've had in the last few months, and it's frustrating that something as simple as putting a mask on has become a divisive topic."

The weekend was a busy one: Coos County saw 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday alone, the county's highest daily case count since the pandemic began. Sunday saw five new cases, and Monday's four cases brings the county's total to 342 since beginning of the pandemic.

70 of those cases came in the past 14 days, a sign that those cases are still considered infectious and active. That's the most active cases the county has reported.

Douglas County's weekly data report shows the stark figures it is facing: The county had more cases last week alone (148) than it did in the first 152 days after its first reported case in March.

It's had 632 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, and 10 people in the county have died with the virus.

Curry County reported two new cases of the virus over the weekend, bringing its total to 83 since the pandemic began. Two people in the county have died with the virus.

On Friday, state officials announced new restrictions on dining, retail and other businesses that will take effect on Wednesday. Restaurants are limited to takeout-only operations, and indoor recreation facilities will close for two weeks under the new restrictions, though schools won't be impacted.

The restrictions will last longer in more-densely populated counties, since they're home to many of the state's case, Governor Kate Brown said Friday. But they're not only important for larger counties, CHW's Gleason says — they're critical for counties like Coos, too.

"It's not a Multnomah problem that affects the rest of the state," Gleason said. "Our numbers — and especially ours — are rising significantly. That doesn't have anything to do with Multnomah. It has to do with the people that live in this community right now, doing the things that they need to do to prevent the spread of COVID, and we just haven't been able to get over that hump yet."

The surge in cases and restrictions that follow have come at a difficult time, just a week before Thanksgiving. Gleason says that families need to make difficult decisions to reduce the size of their gatherings, and cancel plans to travel.

He's had to tell a family member not to come visit from Portland, saying its too dangerous for them to travel outside of the area.

"I absolutely understand the heartbreak of the answer being 'I can't see you' on such a family-centered holiday," Gleason said. "But as adults, as parents, we are supposed to be making the hard choices."

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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