Oregon Puts Reopening on Pause as Coronavirus Cases Rise in State

Oregon put the reopening of the state on pause Thursday as daily confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rise.

"The noticeable increase in COVID-19 infections in Oregon over the past week is cause for concern. In order to ensure that the virus is not spreading too quickly, I am putting all county applications for further reopening on hold for seven days," Governor Kate Brown stated in a news release. "This is essentially a statewide 'yellow light.' It is time to press pause for one week before any further reopening."

The state saw its seven-day rolling average of new daily cases increase from 54 on June 1 to 89 on June 7, which amounts to a 65 percent increase in average daily cases, according to the Oregon Health Authority coronavirus tracking website. The website states that health officials do not want to see an increase of 5 percent or more over a seven day period, and the data from June 1-7 was highlighted as the reasoning behind the most recent decisions and health recommendations.

Brown said in the news release that the state was expecting to see an increase in cases, as "reopening comes with real risk," and the public health system is being monitored to ensure that it does not become overwhelmed during the process.

"This one week pause will give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine if we need to adjust our approach to reopening. I will work with doctors and public health experts to determine whether to lift this pause or extend it or make other adjustments," Brown said.

"I want to remind the public that there are very simple precautions each of us should take to reduce the spread of the disease: Avoid large gatherings. Wear a face covering. Stay six feet apart. Wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home when you are sick," the governor said.

Newsweek reached out to the Oregon Health Authority for comment, but they did not respond back in time for publication.

The only county yet to begin a phased reopening in the state is Multnomah County, where Portland is located. Deborah Kafoury, the county chair for the board of commissioners, said the increase in cases "is a reminder that we are very much still in this."

Oregon saw 178 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and two new deaths as of Thursday, which brought cases in the state to 5,237 and the deaths attributed to COVID-19 to 171.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown
MAY 28, 2015 - Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns) Anthony Pidgeon/Getty