PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon leaders are paying close attention to rising coronavirus cases as the state’s southern neighbor issues sweeping closures once more.
Bars and inside restaurant dining are banned throughout California, while indoor religious services, gyms and hair and nail salons are again off-limits in most of the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.
California, Washington, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon formed a Western States Pact in April to move forward together in reopening in an attempt to better control the spread of COVID-19.
But what does this fresh closure order in California mean for the other pact members?
KOIN 6 News reached out to the office of Oregon Governor Kate Brown and learned they are closely watching the situations in neighboring states.
“If Oregonians do not wear face coverings in public and limit social get-togethers as much as possible and we see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Oregon, Gov. Brown will need to take more restrictive measures to contain the disease,” said a spokesperson for Brown’s office.
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Gov. Brown’s Deputy Communications Director Charles Boyle said:
“The states in the Western States Pact are sharing expertise on COVID-19 and have developed a shared approach of using science and data to develop a phased reopening process, with each state taking individual paths forward tailored to their state’s needs. California, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon each have different dynamics to their COVID-19 outbreaks, and each state is taking action to address those outbreaks, following the recommendations of doctors and health experts.
In Oregon, the Governor’s decisions will be informed by the advice of the health experts at the Oregon Health Authority and her Medical Advisory Panel. We are watching the situations in our neighboring states very closely, as our communities and economies are interconnected and the public health impacts of COVID-19 outbreaks do not stop at state borders. In the same way that our states work together during wildfire season, we are working together now to share expertise and communicate about the impacts of this pandemic on our communities and economies.
If Oregonians do not wear face coverings in public and limit social get-togethers as much as possible, and we see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Oregon, Governor Brown will need to take more restrictive measures to contain the disease. We are seeing this happen in other states where COVID-19 cases are already threatening to overwhelm hospitals and health care systems.”
As for what criteria would cause another shutdown in Multnomah County, Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said “that’s the million-dollar question.”
“I don’t have a specific number or answer,” she said. “There are several metrics that we keep eyes on that rely on testing and whether cases are actually traced to other known cases, suggesting that we have a sense of where the disease is spreading.”
Health experts agree: it’s up to all of us to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if we want businesses to stay open.
“For now, that’s really keeping things outside, using face coverings, maintaining a six-foot distance,” Vines said. “That is what’s going to make the difference from all of us behaving in ways everyday that protect those around us and ourselves.”
A strain on testing supplies has also led Multnomah County to dial back some of its testing recommendations. The county is now asking that only people who have had close contact with a confirmed case or people experiencing symptoms get tested.
Health officials say now is not the time for those who are simply worried and want a test.
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