PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Public health officials are worried they’ll see a spike in COVID-19 cases following the holiday weekend due to anticipated gatherings.​

Multnomah County Public Health Officer Doctor Jennifer Vines says the stay at home order was really effective in Oregon. ​But, as we’ve headed into spring and summer, she realizes people are ready to go back to something resembling life again.​

As officials began reopening counties, Dr. Vines says some people have interpreted that as we’re in the clear — which is not the case. Cases have gone up, she says, as people have started letting down their guard reconnecting with friends and widening their social circles.​

“We know it spreads easily from person to person,” Dr. Vines said. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing that now we’re seeing an increase in not only cases locally — but also an increase in hospitalizations that we’re starting to watch very carefully, especially as we head into the July 4th weekend, when we know that people are going to want to socialize.

During the Fourth of July celebrations, public health officials are emphasizing to keep it local,  maintain six feet of distance at gatherings and limit it to your household or people who you’ve already been in contact with. They say it’s better to have gatherings outside and to absolutely wear face coverings. ​

Overall, Vines says now is not the time to get together with people we haven’t seen or go out and meet strangers.​

She says if we all do our part, we can avoid hundreds of cases and tens of hospitalizations. ​