Dispatches From Oregon’s Coronavirus Capital

One of the more odd daily habits I have had recently is to look at the posts that one of the local stations posts regarding Coronavirus cases.  Every day the report from the state regarding the locations of positive tests and whether or not there have been any new deaths is given with some commentary, and it makes for interesting evidence regarding how diseases spread through a population.  One of the fascinating elements for me personally has been the way that Washington County, Oregon has been, by far, the hardest hit county in the state of Oregon so far.  Admittedly, the numbers are not large, as there are still only about a hundred new cases a day or so that have been reported here in my state, but of those a substantial plurality good enough to elect President Lincoln show Washington County as the county with the most new cases on a daily basis.  Here are some samples of that:


“The total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 191 in Oregon, with the Oregon Health Authority confirming 30 new cases on Monday.

The new cases were reported across seven counties, including the first confirmed case for Hood River County.

Here’s the breakdown of the 30 new COVID-19 cases by county:

  • Clackamas County: 2
  • Hood River County: 1
  • Linn County: 1
  • Marion County: 8
  • Multnomah County: 2
  • Polk County: 2
  • Washington County: 14 [1]”

“The breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Oregon is as follows:

  • Benton County: 3
  • Clackamas County: 6
  • Deschutes County: 6
  • Douglas County: 1
  • Jackson County: 2
  • Klamath County: 1
  • Lane County: 2
  • Linn County: 15
  • Marion County: 8
  • Multnomah County: 3
  • Polk County: 1
  • Umatilla County: 2
  • Washington County: 23
  • Yamhill County: 2 [2]”

“The total number of cases statewide is now 114, according to OHA, as of Friday afternoon.

The breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Oregon is as follows:
  • Benton County: 3
  • Clackamas County: 10
  • Deschutes County: 8
  • Douglas County: 1
  • Grant County: 1
  • Jackson County: 2
  • Klamath County: 1
  • Lane County: 2
  • Linn County: 18
  • Marion County: 17
  • Multnomah County: 12
  • Polk County: 1
  • Umatilla County: 2
  • Union County: 1
  • Washington County: 31
  • Yamhill County: 4 [3]”


Day after Day Washington County leads the state in new cases of Coronavirus.  And as a resident of this county I am somewhat intrigued to ponder on why this is the case.  To be sure, Washington County is the second most populous county in Oregon because it has two reasonably large suburbs (Hillsboro, the county seat, and Beaverton are both in the 100,000 people range, and Tigard is about half that or so).  One of the most notable aspects of Washington County is that it serves as an important base for companies like Intel and Nike.  If I had to guess, I would say that it is the business and trade focus of Washington County as opposed to the rest of the Portland metropolitan area that has made the area more vulnerable despite having only about two thirds or less of the population of Multnomah County next door and only about a quarter more population than Clackamas County which has far fewer cases and a far less travel-oriented population.  There are costs to cosmopolitanism, and one of those is vulnerability to that which comes from overseas, including pandemics it would appear.

It is still possible to observe people in such times as these but it is admittedly less easy to do so when one is seeking to maintain an air of social distance.  As I have years of experience in observing others from a state of social distance, though, I will carry on regardless of the circumstances so long as I draw breath (which hopefully will be for a few decades more, God willing).  Grocery shopping in the days of the Coronavirus is quite entertaining.  Only a few customers were allowed in the store, with new customers only being allowed to enter when others left.  I was informed by an employee that the shopping baskets I normally use have been removed so I had to use a shopping cart even though I was only getting weekly supplies for myself and did not use even close to all of the space in the cart, which I wielded to grab food.  It was curious to see the sorts of foods that are not available–most types of pasta were gone and all ramen noodles except for larger containers or shrimp flavors, but there was plenty of salad material and quite a few frozen dinners and pot pies left.  And apparently there is a lot of iced tea that one can get as well, if you like that sort of thing as I do.  It was humorous to wait in line in front of the grocery store with people who were trying half-heartedly to maintain social distance while not at the same time encouraging others to cut in front of them.  No doubt other such observations will show themselves in time, even if the streets and offices and parking lots and groceries of my little corner of the world appear a bit barren.

[1] https://www.kptv.com/news/new-covid–cases-confirmed-by-oha-total-now-in/article_9fdb507a-6d3d-11ea-a53a-231291e2093a.html#utm_source=kptv.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnews%2Fnew-covid–cases-confirmed-by-oha-total-now-in%2Farticle-9fdb507a-6d3d-11ea-a53a-231291e2093a.html%3Fmode%3Demail%26-dc%3D1584992402&utm_medium=auto%20alert%20email&utm_content=read%20more

[2] https://www.kptv.com/news/second-third-deaths-from-covid–reported-in-oregon-total/article_2dbf829a-694b-11ea-bbc5-b78d2f9f87f0.html

[3] https://www.kptv.com/news/oregon-health-authority-reports-new-covid–cases-statewide-total/article_6fdbb2b8-6ade-11ea-82d2-9378bec9f39a.html#utm_source=kptv.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnews%2Foregon-health-authority-reports-new-covid–cases-statewide-total%2Farticle-6fdbb2b8-6ade-11ea-82d2-9378bec9f39a.html%3Fmode%3Demail%26-dc%3D1584731821&utm_medium=auto%20alert%20email&utm_content=read%20more

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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