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LOCAL NEWS: Brown declares “yellow light” statewide in reopening, after high Oregon COVID case counts

 

LOCAL NEWS: Brown declares “yellow light” statewide in reopening, after high Oregon COVID case counts

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by Joanne Rideout

Responding to high COVID-19 case counts in the state this week. Oregon governor Kate Brown said her administration has put the brakes on further reopening temporarily, while experts assess what’s happening. In a press conference Friday morning, Brown said,

Kate Brown: “At this point in time, we’re issuing a “yellow light” asking everyone to be extra careful. We’re holding where we’re at and hoping to not step forward. But as I’ve said a zillion times, the virus makes the timelines we don’t make the timelines. And we are just asking everybody again, we are truly all in this together. And it’s so important that we consider our family members, our neighbors, our friends, and our communities every time we take a step.”

Brown said the one week pause will give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus, and determine if the state needs to adjust its approach to reopening. The Oregon Health Authority reported 178 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, marking the highest daily case count since the onset of the pandemic in Oregon. hospitalizations are rising. The percentage of diagnosed cases is going up, partly as a result of increased testing. But more than 40 percent of new cases in the last week have not been traced to a source. Dr. Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist for the Oregon Public Health Division said,

Dean Sidelinger: “What we’re seeing is that this disease is impacting communities across Oregon, from our urban areas to the rural areas, the coast to the mountains, and in between. We’re seeing the spread connected to different things. We’ve reported on several large workplace outbreaks. We continue to support long term care facilities and respond to outbreaks there for some of our most vulnerable populations. And we’re also seeing spreads As people come together and various aspects come together for social gatherings, parties, barbecues and otherwise get back together with their friends and family and we do see spreads in those areas. And that’s why we continue to urge people to take precautions, say physically distance, yes, you can get together in small groups locally, where a face covering, take precautions, don’t attend if you’re sick, wash your hands often. And together by doing these things, we can get through this without seeing significant increases in cases because we all have a role.”

The pause and reopening means that counties that are already open will stay where they are. Counties that have not will need to wait. I’m Joanne Rideout in Astoria.