Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that Oregon residents will be required to wear face covers inside indoor public spaces, warning that hospitals in her state could be overwhelmed if the spread of the coronavirus does not slow.
“From the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening carries the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond the ability of our health systems to test, track and isolate them,” Brown said in a release. “Over the past month, we have seen the spread of the disease at an alarming rate in urban and rural counties.”
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“The Oregon Health Authority model shows that if we don’t take more steps to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in a matter of weeks,” the Democratic governor continued. “I don’t want to have to close businesses again like other states are doing now. If you want your local stores and restaurants to stay open, then cover your face when you go out to the public. “
Facial masks are already required in eight counties, but will now be required in interior public spaces across the state beginning July 1.
He urged residents to keep the July 4 celebrations “small and local,” citing an increase in the coronavirus that followed Memorial Day celebrations.
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Oregon saw 247 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 8,341 cases. No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the state’s death count at 202.