The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday reported five COVID-19 deaths and 678 new cases, the highest daily case count in more than two months.

Oregon is now averaging 467 cases a day over the past week. That’s up 50% from two weeks ago and is nearly double the average daily caseload reported a month ago.

Thursday’s tally marked the most for Oregon since Feb. 5, when the health agency announced 846 confirmed or presumed cases. The test positivity rate associated with Thursday’s cases was 4.8%, just below the 5% benchmark officials use for determining if more screening is needed to keep pace with spreading infections.

State officials have warned a new wave is on Oregon’s doorstep. But the rise in cases, while pronounced, has not yet matched the jaw-dropping upward trajectory seen last fall.

Modeling released by Oregon Health & Science University last week indicated the state could see around 1,000 coronavirus cases a day by May. But infections could precipitously decline by mid-month, fueled by the growing number of Oregonians being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Oregon is expected to set records for vaccination levels this week and into next, thanks in large part to the arrival of nearly 125,000 doses of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccines: Oregon reported 50,429 newly administered doses, which includes 27,783 Wednesday and the remainder from previous days.

Where the new cases are by county: Baker (4), Benton (4), Clackamas (65), Clatsop (6), Columbia (10), Coos (7), Crook (4), Curry (3), Deschutes (47), Douglas (14), Gilliam (1), Grant (7), Hood River (5), Jackson (88), Jefferson (5), Josephine (27), Klamath (42), Lane (47), Lincoln (8), Linn (18), Malheur (1), Marion (48), Morrow (1), Multnomah (108), Polk (14), Tillamook (8), Umatilla (6), Union (1), Wasco (1), Washington (69) and Yamhill (9).

Who died: State officials did not immediately disclose details of the five deaths.

Hospitalizations: 168 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized, down three from Wednesday. That includes 38 people in intensive care, down four from Wednesday.

Since it began: Oregon has reported 168,795 confirmed or presumed infections and 2,439 deaths, among the lowest per capita numbers in the nation. To date, the state has reported 2,117,703 vaccine doses administered.

-- Brad Schmidt; [email protected]; 503-294-7628; @_brad_schmidt

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