{child_flags:top_story}COVID-19: Oregon not hit as hard as the rest of the nation

{child_byline}By Ronald Bond

The Observer


LA GRANDE — Oregon has seen a much lower breakout of coronavirus cases when compared to most of the nation.

As of Thursday, the state had recorded 3,817 cases of COVID-19 according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Less than one-tenth of 1% of Oregon’s more than 4 million residents have tested positive. The number itself is lower than some less populous states — South Dakota, New Mexico and Mississippi are just three examples with a lower population that have more confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii and Alaska are all states with fewer overall cases.

Some of those states, however, have a higher incidence rate than the Beaver State, according to data on the Johns Hopkins University website. In fact, Oregon is in the bottom five of states with the lowest incidence rates in the nation. Just 90.50 per 100,000 Oregonians have tested positive for the virus.

Only Montana, Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia have lower percentages of the population to contract the virus.

The state, though, also ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of testing at 46th. Just four states — Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Idaho — have a testing rate lower than Oregon’s 2,494.80 per 100,000 residents. Oregon as of Thursday had conducted 105,132 tests for the coronavirus, and more than 96% of them have come back negative.

So why does Oregon have a lower number of cases than most of the nation?

The low number of tests would seem to be the obvious answer, until you compare the state to others with similar testing rates. Virginia, for example, has a similar testing rate at 2,561.05 per 100,000, but an incidence rate of 399.94 per 100,000.

Virginia does have more than double the population of Oregon at about 8.5 million, which can partly account for the higher number, but the numbers still show the virus infecting four times as high, and still double if you figure in population.

The 12 states with population most similar to Oregon (six above and six below) all have a higher incidence rate than Oregon, but all of them also (with the exception of Colorado) have a higher test rate.

But each state in the list has a worse testing rate-to-incidence rate ratio than Oregon, many several times worse. This means even if Oregon conducted the same number of tests as every state immediately around it — by population — it likely still would have fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases. Through Thursday, Oregon has a ratio of one case per every 27.57 tests. Oklahoma and Utah have rates of 1-of-26.34 and 1-of-23.22, respectively, measures closest to Oregon’s number. Colorado, the one state with fewer tests per capita than Oregon, has a ratio of one confirmation for every 5.95 tests.

The 12 states have an average testing rate of 3,911.65 per 100,000 and an incidence rate of 378.96, meaning that even combined, their states have a rate of one confirmation per 10.32 tests, making Oregon almost three times better.

The national test rate as of Thursday was about 3,956 per 100,000 and the incidence rate 477, for a ratio of one confirmation per 8.29 tests.

Union County, which has had six confirmed cases — three of which are active — has conducted 307 tests for the virus through Thursday, with 301 coming back negative.

The county has not had anyone die from the coronavirus. The number of conducted tests in the county is just more than 1% of the population, and the number of confirmations is two-one-hundredths of 1% of the county’s population.

Of Oregon’s cases, 45.85% involves patients who are 50 years of age or older, and that age bracket accounts for all but three of the state’s deaths. Patients 70 or older account for 74.48% of the deaths in the state and have a mortality rate of 19.08%. The rate for the rest of the state’s patients is 1.14%.

Women have accounted for a higher rate of illness in Oregon at 52.48%, but men account for 57.24% of the patients who have died.

{child_related_content}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}Just The Facts{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}How Oregon stacks up{/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

Chart shows Oregon’s COVID-19 testing rate and incidence rate (per 100,000 people) as compared to the 12 states closest to it in population. Numbers are from the Johns Hopkins University website. Those states have an average testing rate of 3,911.65 and an incidence rate of 378.96. The United States has a testing rate of about 3,956 and an incidence rate of 477 (based off of a estimated population of 330,000,000). Numbers are as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

{table border=”0”}{tbody}{tr}{td}State {/td}{td}Testing Rate {/td}{td}Incidence Rate {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Colorado {/td}{td}2,354.87 {/td}{td}395.87 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Minnesota {/td}{td}3,077.43 {/td}{td}322.72 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}South Carolina {/td}{td}2,684.90 {/td}{td}178.20 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Alabama {/td}{td}3,482.21 {/td}{td}267.56 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Louisiana {/td}{td}6,569.04 {/td}{td}785.24 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Kentucky {/td}{td}3,551.56 {/td}{td}182.80 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Oregon {/td}{td}2,494.80 {/td}{td}90.50{/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Oklahoma {/td}{td}3,780.54 {/td}{td}143.54 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Connecticut {/td}{td}5,686.70 {/td}{td}1,099.72 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Utah {/td}{td}5,704.19 {/td}{td}245.61 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Iowa {/td}{td}3,694.53 {/td}{td}505.73 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Nevada{/td}{td}3,064.20 {/td}{td}239.66 {/td}{/tr}{tr}{td}Arkansas {/td}{td}3,289.68 {/td}{td}180.86 {/td}{/tr}{/tbody}{/table}{/child_related_content_content}{/child_related_content_item}{/child_related_content}

East Region Sports Editor

Ronald's primary beats are Eastern Oregon University, La Grande High School and the other eight high schools of Union and Wallowa counties. As an avid sports fan, he is primarily reading about or watching sports when he isn't covering a game.

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