As COVID Surges in Portland Region, Multnomah County Suggests Masking Up Again

The county saw 297.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week of May 1-7, the highest rate since the Omicron wave began to abate in early February.

Multnomah County again leads the state in highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita as the state faces an increase in infections.

The county saw 297.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week of May 1-7, according to Oregon Health Authority data. That’s the highest rate since the Omicron wave began to abate in early February.

County officials responded May 11 by urging residents to wear masks in indoor group settings.

“We are asking everyone to put their masks back on for a few weeks as they go to school, work and other indoor events,” said Multnomah County health officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. “We want to minimize the spread of illness so that people stay well and can attend all the spring events they have planned.”

The county did not revive any mandates or change the rules for venues such as nightclubs and restaurants. County officials said such measures are being reserved for “big changes in the virus.”

In the state’s outbreak report last week, 16 Oregon workplaces had ongoing outbreaks of five or more cases; 12 were in Multnomah County, comprising four Amazon sites, six New Seasons, North Portland’s Ecliptic Brewing, and Legacy Good Samaritan in Northwest.

“We are seeing cases and hospitalizations starting to increase, and that was expected,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at OHA, in a May 4 statement. “COVID-19 continues to be transmitted at high levels in Oregon. If you’re in large groups, sooner or later you’ll be exposed.”