Baker County’s COVID-19 rollercoaster continued this week.
Although this ride more resembles the modest sort you’d find at a county fair than a stomach-churning monstrosity at Six Flags.
Following a week in which the county recorded 10 new coronavirus cases, the highest weekly total in a month, the county has had only one new case for the week starting Oct. 11. That case was reported Friday, and it came after 6 straight days without a case.
That’s the longest period without a new case since late June.
The previous week’s total of 10 new cases followed soon after another quiet stretch. The county had just one new case from Sept. 12-21.
Nancy Staten, director of the Baker County Health Department, said she can’t explain the ebbs and flows of weekly cases over the past month or so. But she’s optimistic that this past week’s absence of cases reflects county residents taking precautions such as avoiding large social gatherings.
Health officials statewide say those precautions will continue to be vital, as Oregon’s statewide case numbers have risen 24% in the past 2 weeks.
Since the pandemic started in March, Baker County has recorded 112 cases. That includes 98 people who have tested positive, and 14 “presumptive” cases — people who haven’t tested positive but have been in close contact with someone who did.
Staten said this past week’s lack of cases is not the result of a decline in testing. The county’s testing numbers this week are comparable to the past few weeks, with the first 49 tests, through Thursday, all being negative.
Overall, a total of 2,162 tests have been done in Baker County, with 96% of those (2,064) negative.