PORTLAND, Ore. -- During a press conference Friday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown announced a two-week pause on social activities in five counties where COVID-19 transmission is on the rise. No counties in our viewing area fall on that list, but Linn County is on thin ice.
"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."
This comes one day after Oregon reported 805 new coronavirus cases, shattering the state's single-day record. The previous single-day high was 600 on Oct. 30.
The new measures will go into effect this Wednesday and will last until Nov. 25. The five counties this pause will affect are Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Jackson and Umatilla.
The governor chose 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.
Washington, Baker, Union, Clackamas and Linn counties are all close to the COVID-19 thresholds. The Oregon Health Authority will examine their COVID-19 metrics on Monday to determine if they should be added to the two-week pause list.
The list includes 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 takeout.
- Reducing other indoor activity maximums capacity to 50 people.
- 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 and keeping the same six people in your social gathering circle.
Brown said she doesn't want to take further action to stop the spread because of the harsh effects it has had on our economy, especially small businesses in previous months.
However, she believes its imperative that we put Oregonians' lives at the forefront.
"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."
Brown and state health officials said the virus is spreading through the state at an unprecedented rate due in large part to in-person, indoor social gatherings.
“When people become ill we need to ensure that there are enough hospital beds, (personal protective equipment) and staff,” the governor said.
State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger said he is worried about Oregonians being tempted to gather and watch PAC-12 football this Saturday.
"We ask them to watch the game and cheer their team on, but to do so with members of their own household ideally from their own home. Turn on FaceTime or other means to celebrate with your friends across the state or country rather than gathering in person. I'm still worried about it but I hope Oregonians come together this weekend and that we won't see huge crowds of people and that we don't have to ask for additional restrictions for future games," Sidelinger said.