By JAYSON JACOBY
The surge in COVID-19 cases in Baker County that started the last week of July continues, with a daily record of 37 cases reported on Thursday, Sept. 9.
The previous one-day record was 25 cases, on Dec. 28, 2020.
There were 22 cases reported on Sept. 8. The two-day total of 59 exceeds the county’s case count for the whole of May 2021, when there were 51 cases.
September is on pace to surpass August for the highest monthly total.
The county reported 300 cases during August. The previous monthly record was 196, in December 2020.
Through the first nine days of September, the county has had 136 cases. That’s an average of 15.1 cases per day. The current record for any month is 10 per day, during August.
Baker County reported 10 or more cases on seven of the first nine days of September. There were 12 days in August with double-digit case totals, the most of any month. The previous maximum was six days in December 2020.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) doesn’t list in its databases how many people, at the county level, have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Baker County has not recorded a COVID-19-related death since Aug. 17.
A breakthrough case is a person who tests positive after being fully vaccinated.
Baker County’s rate of breakthrough cases has been lower than the Oregon average during the surge in cases that started in late July.
From Aug. 1 through Sept. 5, breakthrough cases accounted for 17.9% of Oregon’s total cases.
In Baker County the breakthrough case rate for that period was 11.1% — 40 of the 362 cases were breakthrough.
Baker County’s breakthrough case rates:
• Aug. 1-15 — 8.2% (12 of 147 cases)
• Aug. 16-22 — 12.7% (nine of 71 cases)
• Aug. 23-29 — 17.5% (10 of 57 cases)
• Aug. 30-Sept. 5 — 10.3% (nine of 87 cases)
Baker County’s vaccination rate remains the seventh-lowest among Oregon’s 36 counties, as it has been for more than a month.
As of Thursday, Sept. 9, the county’s vaccination rate, among people 18 and older, was 49.6%. That includes 6,361 people who are fully vaccinated, and 503 who are partially vaccinated. The statewide average is 73.2%.
The six counties with lower vaccination rates, among residents 18 and older, include two that border Baker County (Grant and Malheur):
• Lake, 40.1%
• Malheur, 42.2%
• Grant, 45.5%
• Gilliam, 45.6%
• Harney, 47.9%
• Umatilla, 49.4%
The two other neighboring counties are Union, with a vaccination rate of 53.2%, and Wallowa, at 63.1%.
Baker County’s vaccination rate among residents ages 12-17 (people younger than 12 aren’t eligible to be vaccinated) is 21.8%. The statewide average in that age range is 58.1%.
The number of vaccine doses given in Baker County increased in August compared with July.
There were 633 doses administered during August, compared with 398 doses during July. That’s an increase of 59%.
For the first eight days of September, 134 doses were given in the county. That included 39 doses on Sept. 3, the highest one-day total since June 10.
September’s daily average of doses given is down from August — 16.8 doses per day so far in September, compared with 20.5 per day during August.
The OHA’s weekly outbreak reported, released on Thursday, Sept. 9, doesn’t list any active outbreaks in senior care facilities or other congregate living settings in Baker County.
The county’s lone active outbreak in a workplace is at Marvin Wood Products, where seven cases have been reported since July 23. The most recent case there was Aug. 21.