MultCo officials blame recent uptick on social interactions


Multnomah County reopened June 19

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County health officials said on Monday that the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases is not due to one single outbreak, but instead is linked to social interactions in small clusters.

“We are in a state of an upward trend. Not only in terms of case counts, also in terms of the positivity of tests done,” Communicable Disease Director Kim Toevs said.

Toevs said people are less careful around friends and family, and therefor catching the disease from them, not from strangers at the grocery store or at protests.

“It is human nature, I think, to expect that people who might be more risky to someone would be strangers, and the people they feel are more safe would be people they know, especially family and friends,” Toevs said.

“The fact of the matter for this infection however is that the people that you know you are family and friends with, while you may be less likely to wear face coverings with them, those are the people who are probably more likely to infect you because they are going to be closer to you in your personal space and usually you are going to be interacting with them for a longer period of time than for example in the business sector.”

Multnomah County was the last Oregon county to enter Phase 1 after being shut down to stop the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, Multnomah County reported 17 cases.

This means restaurants, bars, salons and gyms can reopen as long as they limit the number of people inside and maintain physical distancing requirements. Friday’s opening comes despite a rise in cases seen in Multnomah County.

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