SALEM, Ore. – During a press conference Friday, Governor Kate Brown explained her decision the prior evening to issue a statewide pause on pending county applications for reopening.
Gov. Brown, joined by state health officials, said the pause was largely prompted by an increase in new coronavirus cases statewide. On Thursday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 178 new confirmed and presumptive cases, the highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic.
The pause will last for at least seven days and means that counties will stay in their current phase or baseline status during that time.
According to Brown, 29 counties are in phase two, and several others are in phase one or have applied for phase two. Multnomah County in Portland remains the only location in a baseline status.
“As Dr. Fauci has said, we don’t make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline,” Brown said. “We need to double down on the simple but effective precautions each of us should take to reduce the spread of the disease.”
Dean Sidelinger with OHA warned that after more than a month of decline, transmission rates of the virus look to be increasing.
Officials said more testing, better contact tracing and workplace outbreaks have contributed to rising case numbers. It is also too early to know whether recent protests have caused the virus to spread further.
“COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. We all need to stay vigilant and do our part to keep COVID-19 contained,” Sidelinger said.