Oregon Coronavirus Roundup
Extended state of emergency, masks for all, rural outbreaks spike and more ...
UPDATE (4:35 p.m. PT) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order Tuesday extending a state of emergency through Sept. 4. The move comes nearly four months after the original declaration was signed March 8 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state of emergency declaration allows for the governor’s previous executive orders to stay in effect, including orders on reopening, childcare, schools and higher education operations.
Ahead of her statewide mask requirement taking effect Wednesday, Brown said that wearing a mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing are critical to staying healthy and keeping the state open, especially ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
“If too many Oregonians continue to ignore these precautions, we could see an exponential growth in cases, and newly reopened communities and businesses could close again. We have a chance, now, before the Fourth of July weekend, to make sure that Oregon’s COVID-19 numbers don’t follow the same skyrocketing trajectory of states like Texas or Florida or Arizona,” Brown said in a statement.
The governor will review each of her emergency orders every 60 days to determine whether they should continue based on the latest data.
“Oregon, you have a choice,” she said. “You can help to save lives again. What happens next is up to all of us.”
Oregon Mask Rule Goes Statewide
With the start of July comes a statewide requirement that Oregonians wear face masks while in indoor public spaces.
As new cases surge in Oregon, Brown announced Monday she is extending a seven-county face mask requirement that took effect June 24. As of Wednesday, residents must wear facial protection at locations like grocery stores, shopping centers, and restaurants and bars, while not eating or drinking.
“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” Brown said in a statement announcing the requirement. “The choices every single one of us make in the coming days matter.”
Rural counties see an infection surge
Several of Oregon's rural counties have seen significant recent increases in cases of coronavirus.
About 15% of the total cases over the past five days have been reported in Umatilla County. Recent cases in the county have been attributed to an outbreak at a food processing plant near Hermiston.
In Malheur County, case numbers have nearly doubled over the past week to 101. The Malheur Enterprise reported that as of Sunday, the cases have yet to be traced to a common source. This could indicate that the COVID-19 is spreading more generally throughout the population.
The fallout from the outbreak at Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County appears to be continuing. Case numbers there have been steadily rising since the outbreak spike earlier this month, with nearly 100 new cases added.
Morrow and Lane counties are seeing higher-than-previous increases in case numbers as well.
The Register-Guard reports that half of new, confirmed Lane County COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend are related to a college-aged cluster of cases that was discovered recently.
Lane County reported Monday 12 new cases confirmed over the weekend, six of which are linked to college-aged house parties celebrating the end of the school year.
Oregon's cases nearing 9,000
Coronavirus cases continue to climb in Oregon, with health officials reporting 181 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That brings the state’s total to 8,656 known cases.
The bulk of Tuesday’s new diagnoses were in the Portland metro area, with 38 cases in Multnomah County, 18 in Washington County and 19 in Clackamas County.
The Oregon Health Authority reported three new deaths, leaving the state’s total at 207 deaths. Health officials detailed the latest deaths as:
A 74-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive June 18 and died Monday in his residence. He had underlying medical conditions.
A 93-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive June 19 and died Monday at Salem Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions.
A 66-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive June 12 and died Saturday at Salem Hospital. She had underlying medical conditions.
As of Tuesday, 149 people are hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state, including 25 who are on ventilators. The coronavirus has led to the hospitalization of 1,038 people statewide over the course of the pandemic — 12% of all confirmed cases in Oregon.
Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting