Oregon government Kate Brown defends state throwback in COVID lockdown

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The Oregon government Kate Brown has blamed the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for its decision to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions for 36 counties.

On Thursday, Brown extended Oregon’s state of emergency for COVID-19 to June 28, saying a fourth rise in the pandemic is caused by variants of the disease and causing more cases and hospitalizations.

The statement allows Brown to issue executive orders restricting activities and helps the state use federal COVID relief funds, the governor’s office said.

During an interview with KATU, Brown said, “ Community-wide action is needed to ensure that we can protect our most vulnerable Oregonians. I am certainly very concerned about the impact on our businesses, which is why I have worked with the Oregon legislature to get a $ 20 million funding package that will go to these 15 counties.

“In terms of why a nationwide approach, it’s about hospital admissions and health care capacity,” she said.

Oregon government Kate Brown blamed the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for its decision to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions for 36 counties

Oregon government Kate Brown blamed the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for its decision to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions for 36 counties

On Thursday, Brown extended Oregon's state of emergency for COVID-19 to June 28, saying a fourth increase in the pandemic is caused by variants of the disease and causing more cases (pictured) and hospitalizations.

On Thursday, Brown extended Oregon’s state of emergency for COVID-19 to June 28, saying a fourth increase in the pandemic is caused by variants of the disease and causing more cases (pictured) and hospitalizations.

Brown was referring to the 15 counties that placed them in the state’s extreme risk category. Restrictions in those areas include forbidding indoor dining in restaurants.

The provinces in the extreme risk category are: Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Wasco.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, whose town is partly in Multnomah County, which had been moved to extreme risk, urged people to use security protocols to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

“The key to reopening our city is ending the pandemic,” Wheeler said.

The restaurant industry has objected to Brown’s move, with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association stating that the state lost more than 1,000 food service businesses in 2020 and 200 have been closed permanently so far this year.

The association wrote a letter to Brown last week asking her to reconsider her “approach to virus-reducing measures at this stage of the crisis.”

‘The variants are indeed tricky, and we share your concerns about their spread. But closing our restaurants and further depriving Oregonians of their right to take calculated risks to the community if the virus continues to spread elsewhere will not lead to success, ” the letter read.

The group added, “The time has come to empower our communities to move forward while embracing ongoing health and safety measures.

Brown said hospital admissions have nearly doubled in the past two weeks, to more than 300

Brown said hospital admissions have nearly doubled in the past two weeks, to more than 300

The number of hospital patients with COVID-19 in Oregon is 331, three fewer than on Friday.  There are 71 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds

The number of hospital patients with COVID-19 in Oregon is 331, three fewer than on Friday. There are 71 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds

The restaurant industry (image of the file) has objected to Brown's action, with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association stating that the state lost more than 1,000 food service businesses in 2020 and 200 more have been closed permanently so far this year

The restaurant industry (image of the file) has objected to Brown’s action, with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association stating that the state lost more than 1,000 food service businesses in 2020 and 200 more have been closed permanently so far this year

“Our people understand the risks associated with COVID and our companies have proven that they can meet the highest expectations in terms of safety, sanitation and air quality.”

But Brown says her actions are temporary.

“I plan to fully reopen our economy by the end of June, and the day is approaching when my emergency orders can eventually be withdrawn,” Brown said in a statement.

“How quickly we get there is up to each of us to do our bit.”

Brown said more than 1.2 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated, but the “ vast majority ” of new cases come from younger, unvaccinated residents. Oregon’s population is more than 4.2 million.

Health Director Joe Fiumara also said the ‘demand level’ for vaccines is ‘dropping dramatically’.

For example, Umatilla County has about 6,000 doses, and less than 500 doses were delivered last week, while health department staff were idly waiting for people to come.

The vaccination level in the predominantly rural county is far behind what health experts say is needed: According to data from the Oregon Health Authority, only about 19,000 people have been fully or partially vaccinated in the county where 78,000 people live.

Fiumara didn’t say why Oregonians might be reluctant to get the shot, but a study released early last month revealed that when it comes to age, the reluctance to get vaccinated is greatest in young people.

According to the Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, about 31 percent of people ages 18 to 24 say they may not get the vaccine because of concerns about side effects.

Brown said hospital admissions have nearly doubled in the past two weeks, to more than 300.

The number of hospital patients with COVID-19 in Oregon is 331, three fewer than on Friday.

There are 71 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds.

On Saturday, health officials in Oregon reported three new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,498.

The Oregon Health Authority also reported 794 new confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 185,597.

As of Saturday, the state has administered more than 1.6 million first and second doses of Pfizer, more than 1.3 million first and second doses of Moderna, and 95,600 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

The seven-day average is now 34,801 doses per day.

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