PORTLAND, Ore. — As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced a two-week pause on social activities in counties where COVID-19 transmission is on the rise.
The new measures will be in effect from Nov. 11-25 in Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Jackson and Umatilla counties. They include the following:
- Urging all businesses to mandate work from home to the greatest extent possible.
- Pausing long-term care facility visits to protect staff and residents.
- Reducing maximum restaurant capacity to 50 people (including customers and staff) for indoor dining, with a maximum party size of six. Continuing to encourage outdoor dining and take out.
- Reducing other indoor activity maximums capacity to 50 people (for example: gyms, fitness organizations/studios, bowling alleys, ice rinks, indoor sports, pools, museums).
- Limiting social gatherings to your household, or no more than 6 people if the gathering includes those from outside your household, reducing the frequency of those social gatherings (significantly in a two-week period), and keeping the same 6 people in your social gathering circle.
"We've seen over the past few weeks that COVID-19 is spreading in Oregon and unfortunately it's spreading at an unprecedented rate,” said Brown. “We have to go on the offense to stop the spread."
The two-week pause is being instituted in counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people, the governor said.
Five more counties - Washington, Baker, Union, Clackamas and Linn - are close to the COVID-19 thresholds. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will examine their COVID-19 metrics on Monday to determine if those counties should be added to the two-week pause list.
"The two-week pause is a first step in our efforts to control the virus," Brown said. "I need all Oregonians to understand that additional closures may be imminent in two weeks if we don’t see reduced case counts."
Additional closures would involve restricting business activity, Brown said.
"This is a wake-up call. I do not want to have to take further actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 because of the devastating effect on our businesses, both large and small."
The governor said the two-week pause does not change any of the current rules for faith-based gatherings at this time.
On Thursday, Oregon shattered its single-day record for new COVID-19 cases when the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 805. The previous single-day high was 600 on Oct. 30.
On Friday, the OHA reported 770 new cases of the virus and six more deaths.
Gov. Brown and state health officials said the virus is spreading through the state an unprecedented rate due in large part to in-person, indoor social gatherings. The new measures are an effort to stop the spread and save lives by limiting in-person interactions.
“When people become ill we need to ensure that there are enough hospital beds, PPE and staff,” the governor said.
The number of known COVID-19 cases in Oregon is now up to 48,608 as of Friday. 716 people in Oregon have died due to COVID-19.