High COVID-19 Case Count in Wasco County

Recent high case counts in Wasco County explained:

  • Recent high daily COVID-19 case counts in Wasco County are not due to significant outbreaks, but widespread disease in the community
  • Risk for everyone is higher now, because with more people infected, the chance is higher of coming into contact with one of them
  • 259 cases in Wasco County in first three weeks of December; it took six months to get the first 250 cases in the county

The high daily COVID-19 case counts in Wasco County in recent weeks are not due to individual large outbreaks, but rather to the rapidly increasing spread of the disease and its prevalence in the community.

In the first three weeks of December, Wasco County recorded 259 cases. It took almost six months to record the first 250 cases in the county.

North Central Public Health District Epidemiologist Jeremy Hawkins said the disease is “just much more widespread than at any point in the pandemic.”

He said, “We are seeing an increase of cases in individuals who have only had low or no identified risk factors for COVID-19 infection, which may be attributable to community spread.”

The health district gets numerous calls from people who want to know what their risk is given their specific circumstances, such as an exposure at a gathering. Now, Hawkins said, the risk is higher for everyone, given how widespread the disease is.

“The more people walking around infected, the more likely you are to come into contact with one of them,” Hawkins said.

Vaccines will be coming to our area in coming weeks, but only a narrow group of mostly healthcare-related workers, emergency responders, and long term care residents are currently eligible to receive them.

Vaccines are one tool to contain the pandemic, but other tools we’re accustomed to, such as wearing masks, keeping distance, avoiding gatherings, washing hands and staying home when sick, remain our first line of defense.

(For more information, please visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 page, at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19, or contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506- 2600 or visit us on the web at www.ncphd.org or https://wascoshermangilliamcovid-19.com/)