Omicron variant

Omicron variant

The omicron variant wave of COVID-19 will peak over the next two weeks and begin a steep decline, according to a new state forecast.

The Oregon Health and Science University late Thursday projected hospitalizations will likely peak on Feb. 1 at  1,553 COVID-19 patients.

"Oregon appears to be flattening the curve of hospitalized patients," the report said. "Infections are likely to peak in the next week and hospitalizations the week after."

The forecast came as the state continues to see key numbers climb. The number of people in Oregon hospitals with COVID-19 was 981 as of Jan. 20 — 204 more than the week before.

Protective measures against COVID-19 continue to suppress seasonal flu cases. There were 38 cases were reported last week, compared with 1,461 in a similar week in 2020, just before the pandemic reached Oregon.

Other findings:

• Case counts and test positivity remain at record levels. The percentage of cases reported as positive was 27% on Thursday.

• While new infections were still rising quickly, the percentage of the most severe cases held steady. As of Jan 18, 25% of Oregon's occupied ICU beds had COVID-19 patients, similar to the week before.

• The number of children in Oregon hospitals remains "volatile and high," with 23 as of Jan. 18. Oregon has a low rate of pediatric cases compared to the majority of states.

The New York Times said Thursday that state and local health agencies reported 753,990 new cases, up 29% from two weeks ago. Hospitals had 158,638 COVID-19 positive patients, up 48% from two weeks ago, the newspaper reported.

Oregon ranked 11th lowest in cases per 100,000 resident among the 50 states. 

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, another key COVID-19 forecaster in the Pacific Northwest says the number of infections in Oregon likely peaked Jan. 11. It forecasts that hospitalizations will top out on Feb. 1. Daily deaths would start declining on Feb. 4.

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