KEY POINTS

  • More than 11,900 breakthrough cases were recorded in Oregon in the week beginning Jan. 2
  • At least 8.2% of the week's breakthrough cases occurred in children aged 12 to 17
  • Oregon has reported over 72,600 COVID-19 infections among the fully vaccinated

A growing number of fully vaccinated residents in Oregon are testing positive for COVID-19, with breakthrough cases increasing by 86% over the past week, state data showed.

Between Jan. 2 and 8, health officials in Oregon recorded 11,971 breakthrough COVID-19 infections, representing 26.4% of all cases reported statewide during the same period. In comparison, there were only 6,419 cases among the fully vaccinated the week before. 

At least 0.4% of breakthrough cases between Jan. 2 and 8 occurred in fully vaccinated residents of care facilities and senior living communities. People aged 65 and older represented 10% of the week’s breakthrough infections while children aged 12 to 17 made up 8.2% of the total cases, according to the latest COVID-19 Breakthrough Report from the Oregon Health Authority.

Overall, there have been 72,683 breakthrough COVID-19 cases in the state. The median age of infections among the fully vaccinated is 44 years. 

A vaccine breakthrough case is defined as an instance when an individual who has completed a COVID-19 vaccine series tests positive for the virus. But while breakthrough infections are rising, health experts still urge people to get vaccinated. Health experts note that many fully vaccinated residents have minimal to no symptoms. 

The health authority’s report comes as schools in Oregon struggle to keep students on campus after many students and teachers call in sick due to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. 

Child cases of COVID-19 are also rising sharply among students between the ages of 12 and 17 despite statewide mask mandates in campuses. The number of infections is now straining hospitals in Oregon as an increasing number of medical staff members also call in sick.

As of Friday, only 6% of staffed intensive care units were available statewide. In Multnomah, Washington, Tillamook, Clackamas, Clatsop and Columbia counties, only 5% of beds in the ICU were available.

In the southern areas of Oregon — including Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties — only two ICU beds were free, OHA data showed.

Gov. Kate Brown, D-Ore., has deployed more than 1,200 National Guard members to assist with hospitals’ staffing challenges.

hospital-3192833_1920 Representation. A hospital bed. Photo: Pixabay