Each week, the Oregon Health Authority releases a report outlining new infections by ZIP code, to show where the virus is surfacing the most. The Oregonian/OregonLive regularly crunches that data — and searches for reasons the virus is spreading.
Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday that most new cases can be pegged to identified sources: agriculture, specific workplaces, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, group living situations like jails and prisons and church or other gatherings.
But during a news conference earlier this week, state deputy epidemiologist Tom Jeanne said public health officials are concerned that the state hasn’t been able to trace the source of 35% of new cases.
Here’s a ZIP code breakdown of where the virus spread in the highest numbers in the week June 8-14, which is the latest data available by The Oregon Health Authority:
#1: 97850 — La Grande area
This ZIP code saw the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the state, with 86 people testing positive. Previously, public health officials had only identified fewer than 10 cases from February to early June.
Officials said the increase was due in large part to an outbreak at the Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Island City, a tiny town of 1,000 that’s a suburb of La Grande in Union County. A May 24 video of a service showed congregants packed indoors together, singing and chanting without masks.
But the 86 new cases doesn’t accurately cover the full scope of the outbreak: Public health officials said at least 236 people have tested positive, and most of those results came back on Monday and Tuesday of this week. That was too late to make it into the Oregon Health Authority’s latest weekly report.
The church represents the single largest outbreak in the state.
#2: 97233 — Southeast Portland and Gresham
This area encompasses a chunk of Southeast Portland that stretches east into Gresham’s Rockwood neighborhood. It includes David Douglas High School and the blocks between Southeast 122nd and 202nd avenues.
Cases here jumped by 49 in a week — to a total of 159 cases.
But there were no large outbreaks in nursing homes, churches or workplaces that would explain the elevated numbers, according to the Multnomah County Health Department.
County spokesperson Kate Willson said in an email that the disease in this area has been spreading in “clusters” in “specific communities and families who socialize together and share households.” Willson said a high percentage of these residents were essential workers who are at higher risk of being exposed to the virus.
#3: 97365 — Newport
Cases here jumped by 43, to a total of 187 positive cases since the pandemic began.
Seven of those 43 cases were due to a new outbreak at Local Ocean, a seafood restaurant, which closed upon learning about the positive test results.
Owner Laura Anderson said in a Facebook post Sunday that all of those who tested positive were employees who worked in the kitchen.
“Our service staff, those a customer would interact with, all tested negative,” Anderson wrote.
Anderson added: “We will let you know when we are ready to reopen the dining room, fish market and resume take out operations.”
Friday, the fish market reopened.
Local Ocean only accounts for a small portion of the ZIP code’s cases. Of the 43 new cases in the area, 18 were also traced to the food processor Pacific Seafood, which shares an address with the Local Ocean restaurant. A total of 145 infections have been linked to Pacific Seafood since early June.
This ZIP code has the highest per capita rate in Oregon, at about 16 cases per 1,000 people.
#4: 97236 — Southeast Portland
This area is directly south of ZIP code 97233. It roughly covers the area around Powell Butte Nature Park.
The number of new cases here jumped by 41, to a total of 249 cases.
Public health officials have reported no new outbreaks at workplaces or adult care facilities in this area. But the area does include Healthcare at Foster Creek, a nursing home that was linked to 120 cases and 34 deaths. Public health officials, however, haven’t reported any new cases or deaths tied to the nursing home.
Like in the ZIP code 97233 just to the north, public health officials couldn’t pinpoint a large outbreak as the source of 97236′s increase in new cases. Willson, the county spokesperson, again said the jump in cases here was due to the high number of essential workers who are at greater risk of contracting the disease. Willson also said the disease was spreading among communities and families who socialize or live together.
#5: 97013 — Canby
New cases here grew by 34 in a week, to a total of 98 cases.
An ongoing outbreak at Marquis Hope Village Post-Acute Rehab appears to be responsible for a big portion of COVID-19 infections in this ZIP code. At least 92 cases have been linked to the facility from June 4 to June 14. Seven people have died.
But it’s clear that some of the 92 cases are people who live outside of Canby. They are likely employees and close contacts of residents or employees.
According to data available Wednesday, 33 residents, 36 staff and apparently 23 other people have tested positive for the virus because of their connection to the facility.
The outbreak at Marquis Hope Village is the second largest at a long-term care facility in the state. Only Healthcare at Foster Creek in Southeast Portland has seen more cases, 120, and more deaths, 34.
#6: 97838 — Hermiston
This ZIP code covers a large swath of Hermiston and some of outlying areas. Cases here increased by 24, reaching a total of 106 infections since the pandemic began.
The previous week, infections had increased by 14 — so the disease has been spreading at a faster rate.
It’s unclear what’s driving the higher numbers. An outbreak at Medelez Trucking, which infected 27 people, appeared to be winding down. No one had come down with symptoms during the June 8-14 reporting period.
#7: 97303 — Keizer
New infections jumped by 24 here, to 110 total cases logged since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
There has been no outbreak at a workplace, organized event or long-term care facility that can explain the rise.
But the Oregon Health Authority has identified six “active” workplace outbreaks in neighboring ZIP codes in Marion County. These active outbreaks have been ongoing at the Oregon State Penitentiary with 176 cases, Santiam Correctional Institution with 15 cases, Salem Hospital with 12, food processor Norpac with 11, food processor BrucePac with 7 and Amazon in Aumsville with 6 cases.
#8: 97305 — Northeast of Salem
Cases here climbed by 20 in a week, bringing the total infections so far in this ZIP code to 141. This area encompasses the community of Brooks, and is just east of Keizer, across Interstate 5.
Again, like in Keizer, the Oregon Health Authority can’t point to a single large outbreak in this ZIP code. But neighboring ZIP codes have struggled with workplace outbreaks.
#9: 97031 — Hood River
This area saw cases rise by 20, to a total of 71.
A major contributor to new cases is the active outbreak at Duckwall Fruit, the pear packing company. The latest weekly report identified 16 new cases. A total of 61 cases have been identified at the facility since late May.
— Aimee Green; firstname.lastname@example.org; @o_aimee
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