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Coronavirus Watch: OHA removes outdoor mask requirements

The mandate is lifted immediately statewide.

Posted: Nov 23, 2021 12:25 PM

Effective immediately, the Oregon Health Authority is lifting the outdoor mask mandate for outdoor settings. You can watch the announcement here.

Additionally, The Oregon Department of Education released the following information regarding a lessening of quarantine requirements from students.

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced changes to Oregon’s COVID-19 prevention measures today: state health officials will lift outdoor mask requirements for large public gatherings and state education officials announced that an adequate and stable COVID-19 test kit supply has been acquired for all public and private schools in the state to be able to implement test to stay protocols.

Health officials at the Oregon Health Authority have lifted the requirement for outdoor mask wearing in crowded settings, effective immediately. The rule was implemented in August at the onset of Oregon’s most recent surge. Health officials noted that the outdoor mask rule was among the actions the state took to combat Oregon’s most recent and deadly COVID-19 surge, which has been fueled by the spread of the Delta variant, largely among unvaccinated Oregonians. The outdoor mask rule, a rule that requires people to wear masks indoors in public settings and a slow but steady rise in vaccination rates, have helped reduce transmission rates.

Health officials lifted the outdoor masks requirement in light of the overall progress Oregon has made to curb new infections and stabilize hospitalizations.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s state health officer, said: “While it’s too soon to lift all mask precautions, we can remove the outdoor mask requirement for crowded public settings. We’re not seeing these settings fueling large outbreaks. Oregonians can interact with others outdoors without putting themselves and others at high risk, especially if they are vaccinated.”

Test to stay allows students to attend school in person as well as extracurricular activities (with certain restrictions), as long as they test negative. Test to stay allows students and staff to participate in in-person learning as safely as possible while lessening the burden of quarantine on students and their families, teachers and school administrators.

“We know the critical importance that school attendance has on student success,” ODE Director Colt Gill said. “Using test to stay as part of a layered set of protocols in schools will keep students and educators in classrooms, maximizing days spent in school learning, growing and thriving. It’s important to remember that if an individual is vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19, they do not have to take a COVID-19 test to stay in school or quarantine.”

How Test to Stay Works
  • Test to stay is available only for unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals who were exposed in indoor and outdoor school settings where universal masking is fully in place. Indoors and outdoor exposures are reviewed for proximity and duration of exposure. Test to stay may not be used following extracurricular exposures because masking in these settings is optional and the risk of transmission within the cohort is greater. Similarly, test to stay may not be used following community or in-home exposures.

  • Test to stay allows unvaccinated individuals to be tested twice during the 7 days following exposure. First, as soon as the exposure has been identified, with a second test occurring between days 5-7 following the exposure.
   • Test to stay is a form of modified quarantine, which allows individuals to attend school during their 7-day quarantine period. However, individuals participating in test to stay are expected to maintain quarantine outside of classroom settings.

  o Students and staff participating in test to stay may participate in school-related extracurricular activities during their 7-day quarantine period but must wear face coverings at all times during these activities.

The test to stay protocol is an option available to all Oregon schools to administer. Tests are offered at no cost to participants. Student participation requires the permission of a parent or guardian. Close contact students and staff have the option of following LPHA recommendation for length of quarantine if their family does not want to participate in test to stay.

The change in the outdoor face coverings rule means local school districts, charter schools and private schools will set local requirements for use of face coverings outdoors. Extended close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual outdoors could still lead to exposure requiring quarantine, so local decision-makers need to consider the best use of physical distancing, face covering and other protocols to prevent exposure and the impacts of quarantine on student learning.

Testing is one of several components aimed at reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19 in schools along with face coverings indoors, physical distancing, improved ventilation and vaccination of students and staff. Vaccines are the single most important factor in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Being vaccinated helps keep staff in front of students and, now that vaccines are available to everyone over the age of five, it also keeps students in class as well.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 397421

Reported Deaths: 5299
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61160856
Washington42725408
Marion40378520
Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
Deschutes24034198
Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
Yamhill9916145
Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
Coos5854109
Columbia442156
Jefferson427268
Lincoln369155
Crook345558
Union341857
Wasco320747
Clatsop265835
Baker223133
Tillamook220646
Hood River218637
Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241514
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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