Clatsop County leaders emphasized the importance of vaccination and boosters against the coronavirus after a surge of new virus cases.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 45 new virus cases in the county on Thursday, 46 new cases on Wednesday, 38 new cases on Tuesday and 50 new cases over the New Year’s Day holiday weekend. Since the pandemic began, the county had recorded 3,007 virus cases and 36 deaths as of Thursday.

Clatsop County Public Health Department

Clatsop County has recorded dozens of new coronavirus cases over the past several days.

“We are not totally surprised by the increase in cases with the increase in travel and gatherings over the holidays, as well as the number of people seeking testing,” Tom Bennett, a county spokesman, said in an email.

Due to higher demand at the county’s drive-thru testing site at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, the county is prioritizing tests for people with virus symptoms or close contacts of virus cases. The county is not offering testing for travel.

In a snapshot, the county said it had 22 positive results for the virus in 85 tests given on Monday and Tuesday. The county said 17 of those cases involved people who were fully vaccinated, but only one had a booster.

“The vaccinated people who tested positive had only mild symptoms,” Bennett said. “This points to the importance of vaccination to prevent serious illness, and also of boosters to further help prevent infection.”

Oregon has been setting state records for new daily virus cases. Public health leaders say the surge is linked to the omicron variant.

At a county Board of Commissioners work session on Wednesday morning, Margo Lalich, the county’s interim public health director, said the county expects to receive and distribute 3,800 to 4,000 at-home tests for the virus.

“We just want to continue to say that the most protection that someone can have is to not only to be vaccinated but certainly to get that booster dose … With the omicron, (there’s) a very steep spike in cases and then it just passes through very quickly,” Lalich said. “Those who are vaccinated and boostered are either not testing positive and are well-protected or are having mild symptoms.

“But our hospitals are planning for a surge in cases and we know that’s happening as well. We continue to focus on keeping kids in school and protecting our most vulnerable populations.”

Ethan Myers contributed to this report.


Nicole Bales is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or