PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s mask mandate for outdoor settings has been lifted, health officials announced late Tuesday morning during a press conference on the state’s ongoing pandemic response.
The Oregon Health Authority announcement came one day after the COVID death toll passed 5,000 and two days before Thanksgiving.
OHA Director Patrick Allen was joined by state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger and Colt Gill, the director of the Oregon Department of Education.
As of Monday, the overall Oregon death toll stood at 5,017. The cumulative number of confirmed/presumptive cases in the state is 385,790.
Oregon was the first state to reimplement an outdoor mask requirement for all, regardless of vaccination status, as the delta variant spread during the state’s worst surge so far in the ongoing pandemic.
The indoor mask mandate for all, regardless of vaccination status, still stands.
State health leaders also unveiled a plan, called “test to stay”, to keep more kids in school rather than sent home in quarantine when there is a COVID case in a classroom.
An unvaccinated student with no symptoms exposed to COVID in school can take a quick, free COVID test at school. If the test is negative they get to stay and not quarantine.
The student would have to take a second test within that same week and they have to wear a mask in extracurricular activities.
Vaccinated students wearing masks have not been required to quarantine.
With the statewide outdoor mask mandate lifted, it will be up to each school district to set policy when it comes to kids wearing masks outdoors.
The press conference also came a day after the CDC said those over 50 should get a booster since immunity drops over time. But they also said those under 50 can get a booster.
“If you’re vaccinated, and hopefully you’ll be boosted, too, and your family is, you can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving,” indoors and without masks, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”
But, Fauci added, “The thing we are concerned about is the people who are not vaccinated.”
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.