The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is now posting COVID-19 case data by ZIP code and by county.
The OHA said the information will provide a more granular, community-level look at the disease trends in Oregon.
To protect privacy, if a ZIP code’s population is less than 1,000, the ZIP codes will be combined and reported in the aggregate case count. And if there are fewer than 10 cases in a ZIP code it will be listed as "1-9."
Importantly, geographical reports of disease such as tabulation by ZIP code can be misleading because ZIP codes do not have uniform populations, according to the OHA, which stated that place of residence does not necessarily represent the place where COVID-19 is acquired.
This week’s data shows a continued high rate of COVID-19 among Hispanics (14.3 cases per 10,000 residents) relative to non-Hispanics (4.5), and among Blacks/African-Americans (8.4), Pacific Islanders (16.0) and American Indian/Alaska Natives (9.6) relative to whites (4.6).
Differences in COVID-19 distribution are likely to reflect the inequitable distribution of power and resources among Oregon communities.
In a release, the OHA stated it believes by sharing this data, the state agency can identify and continue conversations with affected communities for how to redistribute resources and power to rectify longstanding injustices. OHA commits to helping the public better understand why the impact of the disease is shouldered more by certain communities.
By the numbers
During the week from Monday, April 27 through Sunday, May 3, OHA has recorded 394 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new COVID-19-related deaths among Oregonians, bringing the statewide totals to 2,742 cases (6.5 cases per 10,000 Oregonians) and 109 deaths (0.3 deaths per 10,000 Oregonians) since the beginning of the outbreak.
The number of people with positive tests per week continues to gradually decline, while the number of people who have been tested has increased significantly (from to 10,509 to 12,751).
Further, fewer people are hospitalized for COVID-19, and fewer people are requiring ICU care or ventilators. (See the daily reports for the latest numbers of hospitalized patients.) All of these signs point to the effectiveness of the stay-at-home measures implemented by Governor Brown on March 23, and the sacrifices Oregonians are making every day to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
This week’s report is notable for the inclusion of “presumptive” cases for the first time. Presumptive cases are people without a positive PCR test who have COVID-19 like symptoms and had close contact with a confirmed case. Though not confirmed by a positive diagnostic test, presumptive cases have a high likelihood of having COVID-19 because of the specific nature of the symptoms and known exposure.