Pandemic Surging

Local, state and federal health administrators say the Delta variant has triggered the latest pandemic surge and that the majority of cases are among people who have not been vaccinated.They say that is why it is important for everyone to get vaccinated.

Columbia County recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases and the state saw 3,229 cases between Friday and Sunday, Aug. 6, 7 and 8. The number of COVID-19 cases reached 230,103 as of Monday, Aug. 9, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

OHA reported 14 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon Monday, raising the state’s death toll to 2,903.

Health officials said the majority of the cases are caused by the Delta variant and are among those unvaccinated.

New mask mandate

Multnomah County will be the first county in the state to mandate a mask wearing policy for all indoor public locations since the Delta variant cases began to surge. The mandate will take effect Friday, Aug. 13, for everyone in the county regardless of vaccination status. Multnomah County recorded 538 new COVID-19 cases over the three day period.

Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement concerning Multnomah County’s new mask requirement:

“From the beginning of this pandemic, city and county leaders have asked me for local control and the ability to make local public health decisions when it comes to COVID-19. I’d like to thank Chair Kafoury and Multnomah County leaders for taking bold action to slow the spread of the Delta variant in our communities. Wearing a mask is a simple way to protect your friends and family. Indoor mask requirements will help us stop the spread of COVID-19 while keeping Oregon open for business.

“Last week, I spoke with county leaders statewide, and several elected officials from the areas of our state seeing the largest spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations asked me not to take statewide action, and again asked for local control.

“I am calling on local leaders to take action now to institute mask requirements. At this point in the pandemic, local leaders are in a unique position to help deliver the message to members of their communities about effective safety measures like vaccination and masks. But the fact remains, we have a finite number of staffed hospital beds in Oregon. If local leaders continue not to act and their regional hospitals exceed their capacity, it will impact hospitals all across the state. We will continue to explore statewide health measures necessary to stop the Delta variant from stretching Oregon hospitals beyond their full capacity.”

Columbia County

There has been no official statement from Columbia County Public Health or the county board of commissioners concerning such a mask mandate in Columbia County. Local and regional health authorities have urged people to closely follow the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health and safety recommendations to help slow the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Such recommendations include wearing face coverings in all public indoor locations.

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