Oregon appears to be flattening the curve.
An analysis released Friday by Oregon health officials shows state’s aggressive social distancing measures may have prevented more than 70,000 coronavirus infections since early March, including an estimated 1,500 hospitalizations.
“Our modeling continues to show that our collective efforts are working,” state epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said in a statement.
The findings bolster arguments from a chorus of public health officials and medical experts, who have urged officials nationwide to maintain stay-at-home orders, warning a premature reopening could lead to new waves of infection and death.
The report, prepared for the Oregon Health Authority by the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Wash., drew on a range of factors for its conclusions, including data on confirmed cases, completed tests, hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and statewide deaths.
The authors estimated up to 8,400 Oregonians have been infected in total, four times the 2,177 cases confirmed by health officials.
Without social distancing measures, Oregon’s outbreak “would have continued to grow exponentially, doubling every week,” the authors said. Confirmed cases would have reached an estimated 80,000 by April 16, according to the report — a figure that would have put Oregon among the hardest-hit states.
The authors cautioned that the projections were intended for planning purposes and should be considered preliminary, saying data on covid-19 cases may lag in unaccounted ways.
They also stressed strict social distancing will need to continue to drive down the number of active infections and said testing and contact tracing should be vastly expanded before the state considers reopening.
“These measures have been successfully used to prevent epidemic rebound in other countries, such as South Korea,” the authors said, “and provide the clearest evidence to date of successful short- to medium-term covid-19 management.”