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New modeling of the COVID-19 virus shows that COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly in Oregon, according to the latest model released recently by the Oregon Health Authority and the Institute for Disease Modeling.

The model, which is based on data through June 18, offers three projections - optimistic, moderate and pessimistic - predicting that daily case levels could rise as much as 20 percentage points.

The modeling assumes that hospitalizations from COVID-19 remain stable and testing remains at its present level of approximately 4,000 a day:

- The optimistic scenario with those assumptions suggests the previous modeling increase of June 11 was the result of higher testing and that case counts would remain stable at about 180 per day over the next month. This is the least likely scenario to occur because it assumes diagnosis of all new cases and presently about one-third of new infections cannot be traced to a known source.

- The moderate scenario suggests the rise in cases in the last modeling report was due to increased transmission and expanded testing - and that daily infections of COVID-19 could rise over the next month to more than 900 per day, with daily hospitalizations rising from 8 to 27.

- The most pessimistic scenario suggests the rise in cases in the last modeling report was due entirely to increased transmission and not expanded testing - and that infections could rise to more than 4,800, and hospitalizations could increase to 82 per day.

"We know that COVID-19 is in our communities," said Dean Sidelinger, MD, Oregon state health officer. "This latest model provides us with a sobering reminder that we all need to guard against continued spread, especially as we continue to reopen and the weather gets warmer.

"Think hard about your choice of activities, especially as we get close to the Fourth of July holiday. Ask yourself: how can I reduce my risk and the risk I might pose to people around me? Do what you can to suppress the virus: Stay 6 feet away from other people. Wear a mask. Avoid large gatherings, and if you are in a group setting - like a holiday barbecue - stay outside, keep your distance and use a face covering when you’re not eating. Wash your hands frequently and stay home if you’re sick."

OHA uses this modeling for data analysis and planning purposes and releases it on a bi-weekly basis.

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