With the start of July comes a statewide requirement that Oregonians wear face masks while in indoor public spaces.
As new cases surge in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday she is extending a seven-county face mask requirement that took effect June 24. As of Wednesday, residents must wear facial protection at locations like grocery stores, shopping centers, and restaurants and bars, while not eating or drinking.
“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” Brown said in a statement announcing the requirement. “The choices every single one of us make in the coming days matter.”
Rural counties see an infection surge
Several of Oregon's rural counties have seen significant recent increases in cases of coronavirus.
About 15% of the total cases over the past five days have been reported in Umatilla County. Recent cases in the county have been attributed to an outbreak at a food processing plant near Hermiston.
In Malheur County, case numbers have nearly doubled over the past week to 101. The Malheur Enterprise reported that as of Sunday, the cases have yet to be traced to a common source. This could indicate that the COVID-19 is spreading more generally throughout the population.
The fallout from the outbreak at Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County appears to be continuing. Case numbers there have been steadily rising since the outbreak spike earlier this month, with nearly 100 new cases added.
Morrow and Lane counties are seeing higher-than-previous increases in case numbers as well.
The Register-Guard reports that half of new, confirmed Lane County COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend are related to a college-aged cluster of cases that was discovered recently.
Lane County reported Monday 12 new cases confirmed over the weekend, six of which are linked to college-aged house parties celebrating the end of the school year.
Oregon's cases still largely in the metro area
State health officials reported Monday 146 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19. That brings the state’s total to 8,485 known cases.
The bulk of Monday’s new diagnoses were in the Portland metro area, with 29 cases in Multnomah County, 27 in Washington County and 18 in Clackamas County.
The Oregon Health Authority also reported two new deaths, putting the state’s total at 204.
Cowlitz County records an uptick in cases
Clark County, Washington, reported 700 total cases as of Sunday. The death total in the county north of Portland stands at 30.