Brown: Pause now or COVID closures ‘imminent’

Coronavirus

"The data is proving not all Oregonians are listening"

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Kate Brown announced a “pause” on social activities in five Oregon counties during a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The pause for Multnomah, Marion, Jackson, Malheur and Umatilla counties will start Wednesday and go until the day before Thanksgiving. Depending on case counts on Monday, it could also apply to Washington, Clackamas, Linn, Baker and Union counties.

The measures include urging all businesses to allow working from home to the greatest extent possible; putting a pause on long-term care facility visits; capping restaurant capacity to 50 people, including customers and staff, for indoor dining and encouraging outdoor dining and take-out; capping indoor activity capacity to 50 for a variety of businesses and institutions, including gyms, museums, bowling alleys and ice rinks; and limiting social gatherings to households or no more than six people if the gathering includes those from outside of a household.

“This is a wakeup call. I do not want to have to take up further actions to stop the sprad of COVID-19 because I know that it will have a devastating impact on our businesses, both large and small, but absolutely will, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of Oregonians,” Gov. Brown said.

On Friday, 770 new cases were reported, with six new deaths. On Thursday, a record 805 new cases were reported, 8.5% positivity rate on Thursday, smashing the previous record of just over 600 cases less than a week before.

“The data is proving not all Oregonians are listening,” Brown said. “For those of you who have scheduled events with other people for the coming weekend, please cancel them. We need your help.”

OHA Public Health Director Rachael Banks said there is alarming data from Oregon hospitals, with 204 patients hospitalized and 55 suspected cases. She said it is the most since the pandemic began.

“We are beginning to stretch our hospital bed capacity and staffing in the metropolitan area,” Governor Brown said.

Oregon health officials said most of the spread was happening in small social gatherings. Brown said further closures were “imminent” if the spread wasn’t slowed.

“I know the actions now, while they are not shutdowns, will limit people’s ability to come together, and limit the transmission,” Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state’s epidemiologist, said.

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