UPDATE (1:05 p.m. PT) — Oregon health officials reported 148 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state Thursday, bringing the total number of known cases to 6,366.
Union County health officials reported five new cases, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 247. The bulk of those cases are from an outbreak linked with Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Island City, just east of La Grande.
The Oregon Health Authority also reported four new deaths Thursday, bringing the state’s total deaths to 187.
OHA describes the new deaths as:
- An 82-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive June 4 and died June 14. Her place of death is being confirmed. She had underlying medical conditions.
- A 78-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive June 11 and died June 15 in his residence. He had underlying medical conditions.
- An 89-year-old man in Clackamas County who tested positive June 6 and died June 16. His place of death is being confirmed. He had underlying medical conditions.
- An 87-year-old man in Clackamas County who became symptomatic May 13, after close contact with a confirmed case, and died May 23. His place of death is being confirmed. He had underlying medical conditions.
Oregon COVID-19 Map
Jacob Fenton, The Accountability Project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop
Clark County At More Than 670 Confirmed Cases
Health officials in Clark County announced Thursday that 12 more residents have tested positive for COVID-19.In total, 671 people have tested positive in Clark County, and 28 people have died.The most recent available data from the Washington Department of Health show 26,784 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,226 known deaths.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown elaborates on face mask requirement
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Wednesday approved Multnomah County to enter Phase 1 of her reopening plan on Friday.
Multnomah is the last county in Oregon to begin the governor’s reopening plan. Officials with the Oregon Health Authority in a press conference Thursday said the agency erroneously underreported the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Multnomah County.
OHA Director Pat Allen said the county had 14 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past week, not nine as was previously reported.
“We made an error,” Allen said. “The data we pulled from our public health database were incomplete and therefore wrong.”
Still, Allen said, OHA is not reversing its recommendation to the governor for Multnomah County to enter Phase 1, as the county still has a low percentage of visits to hospital emergency departments for coronavirus-like illnesses, and a low percentage of positive tests compared to other counties, he said.
The county’s hospital capacity is also “prepared for an influx of patients,” Allen said.
Brown also announced Wednesday she is allowing Marion, Polk and Hood River counties to transition to Phase 2 on Friday.
Those transitioning counties, as well as Clackamas, Washington and Lincoln counties, will all be required to mandate that their residents wear face masks while in indoor public spaces. That directive is still being crafted by the Oregon Health Authority and will take effect June 24.
Brown said Thursday that any county that wishes to opt in to the face mask requirement can request to do so at any time.
She said the mask mandate is enforceable by law, but also said that people will not get arrested or ticketed for not wearing a mask.
“I am encouraging, cajoling, asking Oregonians to be kind and be smart and to protect their fellow Oregonians,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, Union County, in Eastern Oregon, is taking a step back from reopening. Union County commissioners are urging community members to voluntarily revert back to Phase 1 guidelines after a recent surge of new cases there. The county had entered Phase 2 of the governor's reopening plan earlier this month.
“If hospitalizations spike too quickly, if the capacity of our healthcare system is threatened, we will be forced to revert to tighter restrictions,” Brown said Thursday. “What you do every single day will determine whether our economy can stay open or if we need to go back to the way things were in the spring.”
DEQ urges people to wait on emissions testing
Officials with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are urging Oregonians to hold off on taking their vehicles in for emissions testing due to long wait times.
DEQ reopened its Southern Oregon testing station as well as some stations in the Portland area this week. Other testing sites in the metro area are also beginning to reopen in the coming weeks.
This has brought an influx of people looking to get necessary emissions testing done before registering or renewing registration for their vehicles, the agency said.
“At times, there are people waiting up to two hours to get their vehicle inspected,” Susan Mills, public affairs specialist with DEQ, said. These long lines sometimes block entrances to local businesses.
Mills said people should wait at least two weeks before attempting to get an emissions test, especially because local law enforcement agencies in the state, in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation, are exercising discretion in their enforcement of vehicle registrations that have expired during the pandemic.
“People are not going to be cited for their tags being out of date,” Mills said. “They have until October 1, 2020, to come in, get their vehicle inspected and register their car with the DMV.”
Mills said there are also alternative emissions testing options, including DEQ Too stations at private businesses such as gas stations and car washes. Mills said people can also purchase a test certificate online before getting a test, with the understanding that they must get their vehicle tested before Dec. 31, 2020.
If people do choose to go to a vehicle testing site, DEQ requests that they follow public health guidelines including maintaining a distance of six feet from employees and wearing face coverings.
DEQ’s inspection stations initially closed on March 17 due to the pandemic.