Benefits of social distancing illustrated in new projections, experts say

SALEM, Ore. – New projections show Oregon may be at a tipping point in the fight against COVID-19.

The Oregon COVID-19 Joint Information Center said relaxing current social distancing guidelines in the state too soon could cause a surge in new infections which would swamp the healthcare system.

Projections show if Oregon returns to “business as usual,” there will be an estimated 15,000 cumulative cases of COVID-19 infections by May 8th, with 1,100 of those needing hospitalization.

If Oregon maintains its social distancing measures put in place on Monday, and people obey the measures, there will only be an estimated 1,000 cumulative cases of COVID-19 by May 8th.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer at the Oregon Health Authority, said, “These projections tell us the sacrifices Oregonians are making right now can save lives. At the same time, they paint a dark picture of what could happen. We can’t afford to drop our guard.”

Governor Brown said, “Hospital leaders and health officials are doing their part to find beds, secure supplies and protect health care workers. Oregonians can make a difference too: stay home and save lives. We all have a role to play in an unprecedented, unified effort across Oregon to stop the coronavirus from taking the tragic toll we’ve seen it claim elsewhere.”


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