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Governor Brown announces two-week 'freeze' statewide in attempt to halt rapid COVID-19 spread

Governor Kate Brown called a press conference with state health officials on Friday to announce new measures in an attempt to curb the recent surge in cases.

Posted: Nov 13, 2020 12:01 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2020 4:34 PM

SALEM, Ore. — With coronavirus cases continuing to surge in Oregon and around the country, Governor Kate Brown called a press conference on Friday to announce a two-week "freeze" statewide in an attempt to curb the alarming trend.

Brown and state health officials had already implemented a two-week pause on certain activities in nine counties with particularly high case rates, which began on Wednesday. But Oregon has continued to see an "alarming spike" in cases, Brown said, now marking a second day with more than 1,000 new cases.

Hospital officials joined Brown on a call earlier this week, warning of dwindling hospital capacity as both cases and hospitalizations increase rapidly. Many hospitals in Oregon have already voluntarily scaled back on elective surgeries to make room for incoming patients, Brown said.

The two-week freeze measures are set to begin next Wednesday, November 18, and last through December 2. They are far more wide-reaching than the pause measures already in place, actually closing or limiting many types of businesses.

"These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care," the Governor's office said in a preliminary statement.

According to the Governor's office, the freeze measures include all of the following:

  • Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.
  • Limiting faith based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.
  • Limiting restaurants and bars to take-out only.
  • Closing gyms and fitness organizations.
  • Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.
  • Closing outdoor recreational facilities, zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
  • Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick-up.
  • Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick-up.
  • Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).
  • Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
  • Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities.

The freeze carves out a space for some businesses and services to continue as they have been under Oregon Health Authority guidance: providing exceptions for personal services such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy; congregate homeless shelters; outdoor recreation and sports; youth programs, childcare, and K-12 schools.

The duration of the freeze includes the Thanksgiving holiday, as state officials urge people to avoid gatherings or keep them small. Social gatherings have consistently been the primary vector for spread of COVID-19 in Oregon for the past several months, according to public health officials.

Brown said that at least one county, possibly more, will be in the freeze longer than the rest of the state.

“Given the data and modeling we are seeing, my public health experts tell me that some counties will need longer to flatten the curve," the Governor said. "So I want to be very clear that there are some COVID-19 hotspot counties that will likely need to stay in the Freeze for much longer than two weeks. Multnomah County, for example, will be in this Freeze for at least four weeks. Our actions right now, no matter where in the state you live, are critical.”

On Friday morning, Governor Brown joined with the governors of Washington and California to issue a travel advisory along the West Coast, urging people to avoid non-essential travel and self-quarantine for 14 days if traveling out-of-state.

OHA reported 1,076 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths on Friday. The fatalities included two reported Thursday by Jackson County public health officials.

State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger underlined what Jackson County Public Health revealed earlier this week — that local public health officials in Oregon have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of new cases, preventing them from comprehensive contact tracing of cases; forcing them to cut corners on the investigation process and prioritize tracing "high-risk" groups.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 396501

Reported Deaths: 5268
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61066850
Washington42631406
Marion40277517
Clackamas33256388
Lane30473363
Jackson25211363
Deschutes23984192
Umatilla15155184
Linn14966184
Douglas13608295
Josephine10357248
Yamhill9878145
Klamath9120152
Polk8347103
Benton622940
Malheur593592
Coos5806109
Columbia441156
Jefferson426066
Lincoln367952
Crook343958
Union341456
Wasco319646
Clatsop265435
Baker222533
Tillamook219846
Hood River217237
Morrow198425
Curry194239
Harney121733
Grant109116
Lake106318
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5127121

Reported Deaths: 74911
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153745027248
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3367395771
Sacramento1699162460
Kern1588341838
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241513
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus922291434
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511311
Shasta26353462
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793979
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163318
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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