Gov. Kate Brown today announced two steps to address the increasing spread of COVID-19 throughout the state.
Effective Friday, July 24, Brown is expanding the requirement that Oregonians wear masks in common indoor spaces (except their homes) to include children 5 and older. She is also reducing the maximum number who can gather in an indoor space from 250 to 100. That includes the indoor areas of bars and restaurants. Brown also said bars and restaurants in counties in Phase 2 of the reopening process will have to push up their closing times from midnight to 10 pm.
"Oregon, we ventured out onto the ice together and that ice has begun to crack. Before we fall through the ice, we need to take steps to protect ourselves and our community," Brown said today. "So it's time for further actions to slow the spread of this disease. Keep in mind, this is not an on or off switch. This disease is something that, for the time being, we must live with. However, when we see numbers rise, we must respond in turn. We must dim the lights. We must scale back, limit our interactions, take more precautions."
Her comments arrived as the state released weekly figures showing a 26 percent rise in new COVID-19 cases over the past 7 days. Oregon saw two days with more than 400 new cases over the past week, and its test positivity rate increased from 6.2% to 6.6%. Health officials concede that most of this spread is taking place in social settings they find difficult to track.
The Oregon Health Authority yesterday debuted a new website in English and Spanish to help people find the closest testing site, but as Oregon Public Broadcasting reported today, the state still has insufficient testing capacity, and many of the tests getting done are not coming back with timely results.