October 16th Update from SD23

Click to edit this placeholder text.

Michael Dembrow

October 16, 2022

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well, staying healthy, and looking out for your neighbors and friends during this past week. 

Mainly COVID news this week.  In this week’s newsletter you’ll find an updated forecast from OHSU, along with the latest news and Oregon COVID metrics.  Last week’s forecast and metrics reports suggested that we might already be seeing an uptick in cases and hospitalizations, kicking off a mild surge that would peak in mid-November.  Now it appears that we are still on a pre-surge plateau (hospitalizations have actually gone down), suggesting that the surge will arrive a little later and therefore also peak a little later.  More on that below.  You’ll also find links to articles with suggestions on how to prepare for this next COVID surge.

We’re of course in the last month of the 2022 midterm campaign season. I’m sure you’re already being deluged with mailers and ads.  If you haven’t already received it, you should be getting your Voters Pamphlet in the next few days.  Ballots will start being mailed out on Wednesday, October 19. 

To receive a ballot, you of course need to be registered at your current address.  If you or someone you know have not yet done that, this coming Tuesday, October 18, is the deadline for that.  In our effort to make voting easier and more accessible to Oregonians, registration can now be done online.  Here’s the link Here's the link to the section on the Secretary of State’s website that allows you to do that.

Ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by 8 pm on November 8th.  Do remember that the sooner you return your ballot, the sooner those mailings and phone calls will cease. (Well, should cease anyway, depending on how quickly the various campaigns update their contact lists.)

If you have any questions about the voting process, please do reach out.

Until next time, please do your best to stay healthy and safe.  And let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about anything in this week’s newsletter.


Welcome Woodrow!                                                                                               

Key to the work of any legislative office are the paid interns that help us with our work.  It benefits us and our constituents, and it provides students with valuable experience.  Over the years, I’ve been blessed with some great interns from PCC, PSU, and other colleges and universities, all of whom have gone on to do important things.

My newest policy intern has just started working for us this month. He’s Woodrow Moore.  Let me allow him to introduce himself:


I am a second-year masters student in Political Science at Portland State University.  Originally from Huntington Beach, California, I received my bachelors degree from Humboldt State University in 2018 and relocated to Oregon shortly thereafter.  In my free time I enjoy playing guitar, camping, and traveling abroad.  I live with my wife, Shannon, and our dog, Townes, in Portland.

Woodrow’s program focus for his degree program is Environmental Policy.  He has a particular interest in addressing the overuse of single-use plastics and other potentially toxic chemicals.  He’ll be taking the lead in supporting my work on environmental issues between now and the end of the 2023 session.

You'll be able to reach Woodrow directly at woodrow.moore@oregonlegislature.gov or through my email, sen.michaeldembrow@oregonlegislature.gov.



Weekly Data Report:

OHA now updates and reports COVID metrics once a week, on Wednesdays. 

Here are the last set of daily results, for this past week from 10/6/22 through 10/12/22.

As you’ll see, this week’s report is a mix of slight increases and decreases. It appears to affirm the observation that you’ll find in the new forecast from OHSU—that we are still experiencing a plateau that will soon transition to a brief wave that should peak in December.  

  • The 7-day average for new infections has gone down again to 529 per day (vs. 614 per day last week). The number of new cases is again likely an undercount, as many people are using home tests to determine their infection status but are not reporting those results.
  • Average test positivity for the last week went down very slightly, 8.2% vs. the previous week’s 8.3%. Again, this number skews high because it likely reflects a higher proportion of people showing COVID symptoms (and thus going in for a test, rather than self-testing).
  • On Wednesday there were 248 COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide, a big decline from 272 last Wednesday. Hospitalizations are now our best indicator of disease spread. Again, however, most of these hospitalizations are not in and of themselves due to COVID—more than half are those who tested positive after having been admitted for other reasons.
  • The number of COVID patients in Oregon’s ICUs on Wednesday was slightly higher than the previous week, 29 vs. 28. These are the most serious COVID infections.
  • There were 32 COVID-19-related deaths reported during the last week, up slightly from the previous week’s 29. Some of these reported deaths actually occurred in earlier weeks but were just reported to the state.


Weekly County Report: No High Risk Counties for the Second Week in a Row

The CDC assigns risk levels based on a combination of the number of new COVID cases and the number of people in hospital for COVID.

According to the CDC Daily Counter (updated each Thursday), none of Oregon’s 36 counties is currently at High Risk.

Eight Oregon counties (down from 9 last week) have reported infection rates that place them in the Medium Risk category:  Baker, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa.

Twenty-eight Oregon counties (up from 27 last week)— Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler, and Yamhill—are at Low Risk.

We can also track the cases, deaths, and test positivity rates for each county at this website.

Although all three Portland-area counties remain at Low Risk, two out of the three showed increases in positivity rates from the previous week. Clackamas County is 8.5%, up from last week’s 8.2%. Washington County is now at 9.5%, up from 7.9%. At 6.6%, only Multnomah County is down, from last week’s 6.8%.



This Week’s Wastewater Monitoring Report: The Plateau Continues

With testing reports giving us just a fraction of infections out there, wastewater monitoring has become a more reliable indicator of the amount of virus in cities around the state.  That report is updated each week.

This week’s report shows a return to stability overall.  Twenty-one percent (up from 15%) of the cities monitored showed decreases or sustained decreases; only 3% (down from 18%) showed increases, and 76% (up from 68% last week) showed no change; that again includes Portland.


OHSU Forecast: Gradual Fall Wave Should Start Soon, Peak in December

Another OHSU forecast report  https://www.ohsu.edu/sites/default/files/2022-10/OHSU-COVID-Forecast-10-14-2022-Final.pdf was released on Friday. It uses data provided by OHA and others that project how fast the virus may spread in the population and provides projections on possible outcomes, including infection rates and impacts on hospital capacity.  The lead author is Dr. Peter Graven, Director of OHSU’s Office of Advanced Analytics. 

This week’s report is similar to the previous forecast. We are seeing an overall flattening of COVID metrics but should soon see another wave beginning.  That wave is now predicted to peak in mid-December, with 630 hospital beds occupied by COVID patients (2.5 times the current 248).

Here are some details:

  • As of Oct. 12th, 248 people are hospitalized in Oregon. That number has been relatively flat for the past four weeks.
  • Hospitalizations are increasing throughout most of Europe and in New England.
  • Influenza has continued to increase, suggesting an early flu season. Forecasts vary significantly, but it's likely that people will be hospitalized at a rate similar to before COVID-19.
  • Vaccinations increased strongly over the last month, though at rates lower than with previous rounds of boosters.
  • Wastewater data have been relatively flat over the last three weeks.
  • Visits to the emergency department for COVID-like illness have flattened.
  • Test positivity also has flattened.
  • As of Oct. 11, 5% of Oregon's occupied ICU beds have COVID patients.
  • The number of hospitalized children is at 9 as of Oct. 13 (vs. 8 the previous week).
  • The pattern of increases in Europe and the U.S. suggests that increased spread is driven more by seasonal factors than waning immunity.




From OHA: Q&A with Julie Black, Adelina Mart, and Dr. Melissa Sutton

Julie Black, technical assistance and customer support manager, Dr. Melissa Sutton, medical director of respiratory viral pathogens and Adelina Mart, research and analytics manager, answered today’s questions.

Q: How do I add my third (bivalent) booster to My Electronic Vaccine Card? – Nancy, Albany

A: “The records for up to four vaccines are automatically added to your electronic vaccine card. If the bivalent vaccine is one of your first four (such as a first or second booster after a two-dose primary series, or a first booster after a three-dose primary series for immunocompromised people), it will be automatically added. If it’s your fifth dose or more (which it sounds like it is if it’s your third booster), the bivalent dose may not appear—use your paper card as a backup until the system is updated.” – Julie Black

Q: We have several at-home COVID-19 tests that are past their expiration date, but we also have heard that the tests are still good past that date. Can you send me information on how long past the marked expiration we should keep the tests? Also, where or how do we dispose of expired tests? – Sharon, Portland

A: “Expired kits may be disposed of in the regular garbage. But some tests can still be safely used past the expiration dates printed on the packaging. It depends on the brand of test, the test’s ‘lot number’ and its original expiration date.

“The FDA provides up-to-date information on expiration date extensions for COVID-19 tests here. Scroll down the page and look for your test brand. If there’s an expiration date extension, there will be a link that takes you to those details.

“For example, in the graphic above, the FDA lists the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test. On the right side it shows the expiration date is extended, plus a link that will take you to a table where you can find the details. For this iHealth test kit example, the lot number and expiration date are on the back of the box. If the lot number is 221CO20110, the original expiration date is 2022-07-09 (July 9, 2022) and its shelf life is extended to 2023-01-09 (Jan. 9, 2023).” – Melissa Sutton

Q: Where are the breakthrough reports that used to come regularly with OHA's Coronavirus Update newsletter? The last report I can find on the website is dated July 2022. If reports won't be put together on a monthly basis, how can I access the data? – Kelley

A: “Instead of a monthly report, OHA is now reporting “Cases by Vaccination Status” on a dashboard that is updated monthly, on the second Wednesday of the month. The new dashboard data demonstrate that even though vaccinated people can still become infected, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to help protect people from severe illness, hospitalization and death. Here is the direct link to the Cases by Vaccination Status dashboard, which can also be found on OHA’s COVID-19 data dashboard homepage.” – Adelina Mart




Additional COVID Updates and Links


cases graph





deaths graph


Here again are some COVID resources that you will find useful:

If the above links are not providing you with answers to your questions or directing you to the help that you need, please consider me and my office to be a resource.  We’ll do our best to assist you or steer you in the right direction.


Want to See Past Newsletters?

If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my legislative website (senatordembrow.com), click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there.  Also, if someone forwarded you this newsletter and you’d like to get it directly, you can sign up for it there.


dembrow signature

Senator Michael Dembrow
District 23

email: Sen.MichaelDembrow@oregonlegislature.gov
web: www.senatordembrow.com
phone: 503-281-0608
mail: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301