On the brink of another round of restrictive coronavirus measures just before the start of the holiday shopping season, Clackamas County leaders are pleading with residents to follow public health advice and limit their social gatherings as much as possible.
Clackamas County was not on Gov. Kate Brown’s initial list of five counties that will on Wednesday enter a “two-week pause” — which places further restrictions on long-term care facilities, restaurants and recreational venues in an effort to curb spiking Covid-19 infection rates — but she warned it may be added if numbers continue to rise.
Brown said the Oregon Health Authority will review the Covid-19 metrics for Clackamas and four more counties — Washington, Baker, Union and Linn — on Monday to determine if they should be included in the pause.
“Clackamas County residents will find out Monday if we’re subject to these further restrictions,” said Dr. Sarah Present, Clackamas County public health officer. “But there are things we can do now to keep our guard up – and keep our businesses open.”
Dr. Present asked residents to consider canceling social gatherings (including for Thanksgiving and the holidays), limit your time indoors with those not in your household, wear a face mask while in public, maintain your physical distance from others, wash your hands often, get a flu shot, and stay home if you are sick or have had direct contact with someone who is sick.
“It’s not too late to reverse the tide,” said Dr. Present. “These measures are put in place to save lives and protect the health of Oregonians. Don’t bring Covid home for the holidays.”
Oregon continued a concerning trend of reporting record numbers of new infections, with 988 new confirmed and presumtive cases added to the state’s tally Saturday. Those numbers included 129 new cases linked to Clackamas County — an unusually high amount after reporting only 13 the previous day.
The state also reported 13 new deaths, including a 94-year-old Clackakamas County woman in Clackamas County who died Oct. 28 at her residence and had underlying conditions.
On Twitter, the governor noted that the daily total of 988 was more than the state had once reported in a month.
988. That’s more cases in a day than we once saw in a week, or a month. We have lost too many lives to COVID-19. It’s time to go on offense. To protect our families. Our loved ones with health conditions. With compromised immune systems. It’s on all of us to protect each other.
“We have lost too many lives to Covid-19,” she said. “It’s time to go on offense. To protect our families. Our loved ones with health conditions. With compromised immune systems. It’s on all of us to protect each other.”
At least 729 people in Oregon have now died from the coronavirus, and the state is expected to soon cross the threshold of 50,000 cases, with the total hovering Saturday at 49,587 cases since the pandemic began.
Included within the pause are a variety of measures: halting indoor visits to long-term care facilities; instituting a 50-person maximum capacity in restaurants, including both patrons and staff, and reducing restaurant party sizes to a maximum of six. Outdoor dining and takeout are strongly encouraged.
There will also be a 50-person capacity for recreational venues like gyms, fitness centers, and museums — however, this does not extend to faith-based gatherings.
Working from home is also encouraged in counties under the pause, Brown said. Private social get-togethers that involve more than one household are supposed to be limited to a maximum of six people.
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