Oregon bars, restaurants and other businesses may be forced to shut down again as COVID-19 cases spike, Gov. Kate Brown acknowledged today.
"The increase in cases is alarming," the governor said on an early afternoon press call. "If we continue on this path, we will need to start buttoning down the economy. I don't want to do that. It's not my preferred approach."
Brown declined to set a metric for the number of hospitalizations or cases that could result in her reissuing a stay-home order or restricting the operations of indoor bars and dining areas.
For now, she emphasized personal responsibility for Oregonians. She has not set a mask requirement for the entire state but urged people to wear one when out in public.
"Stay home if you are sick," she said. "Wear a face covering if you are out in public."
And she voiced the same kind of warning she offered when Oregonians were staying home. "Please keep your recreation local," she said. "And as we head into the Fourth of July holiday season, I want to encourage and cajole Oregonians to keep it local."
Brown said the rise in statewide cases could be traced to gatherings over the Memorial Day weekend. She urged people not to socialize with friends or family outside their own household over the coming holiday.
"I know many of you are planning your typical backyard barbecue bash," she said. "Please keep it to members of your own household. We know following the Memorial Day weekend that we saw a spike in cases."
The governor's comments came as the state reported its second-highest number of new cases in a single day: 276.
Multnomah County had 59 cases, again a near high. And Umatilla County, which has an outbreak at a food-processing plant, saw 58, though it's not clear how many of today's cases are associated with that facility.
Yesterday, the state published a projection that showed by mid-July Oregon could have as many as 5,030 new cases a day.