As Oregon sees a second consecutive day with more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced a statewide “two-week freeze.” These new measures go into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 18 and will limit group activities to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the state.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger put it starkly at Friday’s news conference.
“As the state’s health officer, I’m here today to deliver a simple message: COVID-19 is raging across Oregon,” he said. “The virus is spreading fast, and it threatens to overwhelm hospitals across the state with severely ill patients, if we don’t act now. The two-week freeze Governor Brown just announced will put an urgently needed brake on COVID-19’s accelerating momentum and help us bring the virus back under control. These actions can work if we follow them.”
Also on Friday, the Oregon Health Authority released its latest modeling, which indicates a steep increase in the spread of COVID-19 dating back to early November.
According to the model, the effective reproduction rate – the expected number of secondary cases that a single case generates – was estimated to be between 1.25 and 1.69, with an estimate of 1.47.
The current level of transmission could result in “exponential” growth, resulting in approximately 1,500 new daily cases over the next two weeks.
Gov. Brown sounded the alarm on Friday.
“The virus is spreading in the community and, every day, it is infecting more and more Oregonians,” she said. “This situation is dangerous and our hospitals have been sounding the alarms. If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives. I know this is hard, and we are weary. But, we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from quickly spreading far and wide.
During Friday’s news conference, Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency medicine physician at Oregon Health & Science University, offered perspective on behalf of the health care provider community.
“You cheered and rang bells for us and put signs up calling us heroes,” said Choo. “I’m asking you to be my hero. I’m asking you to listen to our call for help, again. We have a chance right now to save hundreds or thousands of Oregon families from any more of these painful last goodbyes. Now is the time to double down on the only truly effective measures to stop this virus: Wear a mask, keep your physical distance, wash your hand and for the next two weeks, please, stay home.”
What’s Affected by the Two-Week Freeze:
- Gyms and fitness centers: Closed
- Indoor/outdoor recreational facilities: Closed
- Venues that host indoor/outdoor events: Closed
- Restaurants and bars: Takeout only
- Long-term care facilities: Outdoor visitations only
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, retail stores and malls: Limited to 75% of maximum capacity with curbside pickup encouraged
- Offices: Mandate work-from-home as much as possible and close buildings to the public
- Indoor/outdoor social gatherings: No more than 6 people total and no more than 2 households present
- Faith-based organizations and gatherings: No more than 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoor
For more information, go online.