UPDATE (2:45 p.m. PT) — The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said Friday it is forwarding reports to the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about nine bars and restaurants in the state that may have violated social distancing and face covering requirements.
It will be up to OHSA to determine if there were any violations and what actions to take, the OLCC said.
The OLCC said that over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, inspectors checked on 800 businesses across the state. Inspectors issued 74 verbal instructions to bars and restaurants to comply with coronavirus-related rules.
The agency said businesses operating in the Portland metro area, Salem region and Medford region received some verbal instructions but had general compliance with rules.
It said it referred three cases to OSHA in the Eugene region, which covers Benton, Douglas, Lane, Lincoln and Linn counties, and six cases in the Bend region, which covers all Central and Eastern Oregon counties.
OHA reports 275 new known coronavirus cases, lays out new projections
The Oregon Health Authority Friday reported 275 new confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Oregon now has had a total of 11,454 diagnoses.
As cases continue to increase, OHA said it is asking everyone in the state to voluntarily limit indoor social gatherings to groups of 10 or fewer people for at least the next three weeks.
“Since Oregon began reopening we’ve seen the spread of COVID-19 when people get together,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said Friday, “especially when they get together to celebrate with family and friends for graduations, for birthdays…”
The state health agency reported two new coronavirus-related deaths Friday. The number of people confirmed to have died from the virus in Oregon is 232.
Many of Friday’s cases are in the Portland area, with 37 in Multnomah County, 44 in Washington County and 11 in Clackamas County. Umatilla County also continued to see a bulk of new cases, with 51.
As of Friday, 208 people are hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state, including 30 who are on ventilators. The coronavirus has led to the hospitalization of 1,180 people statewide over the course of the pandemic.
Epidemiologist outlines potential COVID-19 spread
In a call with reporters Friday, epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger with OHA went over the agency’s new projections for the potential spread of coronavirus in the state.
If Oregon stays at its current rate of coronavirus transmission — an estimated 1,100 daily infections, with only about 200 to 300 of those cases being diagnosed — the state could see 3,600 new daily infections by the end of July. With that current rate of transmission, the projection states Oregon could see about 50 people needing to be admitted into the hospital everyday.
The worst scenario sees a 10% increase in coronavirus transmissions. That would result in about 7,300 new infections per day and 76 daily hospitalizations.
Lastly, Sidelinger said, even with a 10% decrease in transmission, the state would still see a slight increase in coronavirus cases.
Sidelinger also said Oregon’s hospital capacity seems to be adequate for at least the next two months. If cases continue to increase in the future, that capacity could come into question, he said.
Testing capacity is looking similarly, Allen said.
“Testing capacity in Oregon has increased dramatically every week. We ran over 39,000 tests last week alone,” he said. “But, due to a variety of factors, testing supply chains are under strain.”
Allen said Oregon could eventually see a shortage of testing supplies due to other states with more cases competing in the same national supply chain. He said OHA is working to identify more lab capacity to offset any future shortages the state could face. It is also continuing to ask the federal government for more supplies.
Oregon COVID-19 Map
Jacob Fenton, The Accountability Project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop
Clark County cases surpass 1,100
Health officials in Clark County, Washington, Friday reported 38 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The county now has a total of 1,166 coronavirus cases.
The county reported two new deaths — a woman in her 50s with underlying medical conditions and a man in his 80s with underlying medical conditions not yet determined. Clark County has seen a total of 32 coronavirus-related deaths.
Clark County’s application to move into Phase 3 of Washington’s reopening process is on pause. Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week there would be at least a two-week pause in response to an increase in cases. The county will remain in Phase 2.
The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health shows there are 38,581 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,409 known deaths. As of Wednesday, the coronavirus has led to the hospitalization of 4,665 people in Washington.
Oregon Employment Department launches new website
The Oregon Employment Department Friday launched a new informational website in attempts to improve customer service for Oregonians who are applying for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
The website is designed to help people find information including programs created by the federal CARES Act, whether they qualify for unemployment benefits and how to apply.
“We’ve heard the many Oregonians who’ve said we need to do a better job communicating about their benefits and the unemployment claims process,” David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the department, said in a statement. “Our goal with this new website is to provide clear information so people can file their claims, avoid unnecessary delays, and get their questions answered without having to call us.”
The department said in the coming days in weeks it will add additional content to the new website including a “Contact Us” form, step-by-step videos on how to apply for different types of unemployment benefits, an eligibility quiz.