On Friday afternoon, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a two-week “break” in the counties of the state with the highest COVID-19 transmission rates. The break begins on November 11, Veterans Day, and will continue until November 25, the day before Thanksgiving.
The break begins one day after Oregon reaches its highest daily rate of new coronavirus cases ever on Thursday, November 5, with 790 cases on Thursday, November 5. In total, the state has reported 48,608 COVID-19 cases and 716 COVID-related deaths since March 20.
The governor’s break urges companies to allow as many employees as possible to work from home and instructs long-term care facilities such as nursing homes to ban external visitors. It also urges all restaurants, bars and indoor recreation facilities, such as museums and gyms, to reduce their maximum capacity to 50 people.
In addition, Brown urged individuals to limit house meetings to no more than six people, to reduce the frequency of house meetings to no more than once every two weeks, and encouraged people to limit their social circle to six regular friends rather than strangers or a broad social circle.
The break will initially affect only the following five counties: Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah and Umatilla. However, the following five counties could be added to the break list if their COVID-19 infection rate continues to rise: Baker, Clackamas, Linn, Union and Washington.
According to the KGW, the break applies only to counties with more than 200 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or with more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with fewer than 30,000 people. The restrictions do not apply to places of worship.
Brown mentioned that the Oregon Health Department will re-evaluate the COVID-19 cases from each county on Monday to see which ones may need to be added to the list of paused counties.
“The two-week break is a first step in our efforts to get the virus under control,” Brown said at her press conference on Friday. “I want all Oregonians to understand that further closures could be imminent in two weeks unless the number of cases is reduced,” Brown said at her press conference on Friday.
Washington Newsday contacted Brown’s office for comment.
On Thursday, Brown activated the Oregon National Guard to assist local law enforcement in Portland in quelling a citizen uprising following a protest. The protest was a demonstration against Republican President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop vote counting in other states.
Videos distributed on Twitter by a KOIN TV reporter showed downtown stores with smashed windows. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) stated that it made 10 arrests and confiscated fireworks, spray paint and hammers from people involved in the riot.
“We are not taking this decision lightly,” MCSO officials said about the National Guard activation in a Twitter thread. “Our goal is the security of our community. We encourage the protesters to gather peacefully”.