PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As COVID-19 cases rise, Multnomah County health experts are urging the public to wear masks indoors until cases decline.

“This is not a mandate but we are asking everyone to put their masks back on for a few weeks as they go to school, work and other indoor events,” Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County Health Officer said. “We want to minimize the spread of illness so that people stay well and can attend all the spring events they have planned.” 

The county recommends making sure you are up to date on vaccinations and taking other precautions such as staying home if you feel sick. Health officials also advised those at high risk for severe disease to avoid crowded indoor areas for the next few weeks.

Multnomah County added that while hospitalizations have not increased for children and teens, schools are experiencing outbreaks among that age group. The county noted that COVID-19 symptoms may be mild or asymptomatic for that age group.

“We are in the phase of the pandemic where we must respond with what we know works. And that’s vaccines and masking indoors,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County Health Officer. “In the context of schools, the academic success, social wellbeing and mental health of our kids should be a top priority. That’s why we strongly recommend indoor masking in schools.”

The announcement comes after Oregon’s statewide indoor mask mandate for public places was lifted March 19, 2022.