The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Oregon will continue its steady descent into the new year, according to the latest updated forecast from Oregon Health & Science University.
Hospitalizations will stay above 400 – below the previous peak from last winter but above the spring peak – for a couple of weeks longer than they would have otherwise because Oregonians are tiring of behaviors known to prevent transmission. As the weather cools, it becomes more likely that people will gather together indoors.
Even so, the forecast projects hospitalizations will drop to about 200 by the new year, well below the peak of 1,178 hospitalizations on Sept. 1. A total of 730 people were hospitalized in Oregon as of today, Oct. 7, in the latest figures provided by the Oregon Health Authority.
The updated forecast estimates 23% of Oregonians currently remain susceptible to infection, meaning they haven’t been vaccinated or recently infected. The new forecast factors in waning immunity from people who were previously vaccinated or recently infected, balanced against expectation of booster shots among those eligible for the Pfizer mRNA booster.
“We will be watching to see if people get boosters when they become recommended,” said Peter Graven, Ph.D., director of the Office of Advanced Analytics at OHSU. “If these rates remain high, waning immunity does not appear to have a large impact on the hospital census.”