Oregon coast mayors: Labor Day crowds thin, well-behaved

Coronavirus

Lincoln City has a high vaccination rate

SEASIDE, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayors of towns along the Oregon coast were concerned about the crowds during Labor Day weekend possibly spreading COVID cases. But the large crowds generally stayed away and people generally adhered to the guidelines.

Seaside Mayor Jay Barber said on a busy weekend — like Hood to Coast or the 4th of July — they could have as many as 50,000 visitors. But he estimated about 12,000 people rolled through over Labor Day.

Barber said that, so far, Seaside has been spared the worst of the delta variant.

“We’ve had some increase in COVID cases, but nothing like the metropolitan areas. There was concern with Hood to Coast coming in that they would be bringing COVID-19 and the variants with them, but they really pretty much adhered to the policies set by the Hood to Coast management,” Barber said.

Lincoln City Mayor Susan Wahlke said it’s hard to tell if summertime tourists and travelers are adding to the city’s COVID problems, but as far as Labor Day was concerned, things were mild.

Wahlke said their area has a high vaccination rate and are right now nearing 80% vaccinated. For the most part visitors are well-behaved and compliance is not the issue now, she said.

“Our biggest problem at this point is the shortage of workers and I know that’s not unique to Lincoln City, but because we depend on tourists, we depend on those workers who serve people,” Wahlke said.

Many restaurants had to close a few days a week because they don’t have staff to stay open. With the delta variant she said the hospital has capacity issues at times.

The Oregon Health Authority tracks aggregate data over time for positive cases and ICU beds. Region 1 includes Portland metro and Clatsop and Lincoln counties. Region 2 includes Tillamook County.

On July 9, the Oregon Health Authority reported the Lincoln County region had 9 people hospitalized with COVID. As of Wednesday, that number was 208.

It’s the same story with ICU beds. Out of a possible 455 ICU beds in Regions 1 and 2, only 21 beds are available.

Wahlke said the delta variant has moved through Lincoln City as it has the whole state. But she added the hospitals have strong leadership and the community has optimism.

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