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On a public news conference, Gov. Kate Brown updates Oregonians on new mandates on face coverings and other guidleines to slow virus

With the uptick in COVID-19 cases, many Crook County residents are wondering how this affects businesses and activities.

As of Monday, July 27, Crook County had 29 COVID-19 cases, one hospitalization and one reported death because of COVID-19. As of that date, there were 1,398 negative COVID-19 tests conducted.

With the rise of cases, many have worried about the effect on businesses.

"We have not received any information from the state that we are moving toward the watch list," indicated Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Crook County Public Information Officer for the Crook County Health Department, Vicki Ryan of the governor's watch list.

 She added that there are no changes in their process except that they have more staff dedicated to helping with the contact tracing.

 "We have had one hospitalization overall and all COVID patients requiring hospitalization goes to Bend, so if you wanted to check out the St. Charles website, they do show the number hospitalized each day." (https://stcharleshealthcare.org/covid-19)

When visiting this link, St. Charles offers the following information, "Even though we are seeing patients that have tested positive for COVID-19, we have gone to great lengths to minimize your risk of exposure and help you feel comfortable during your visit. We want to reassure you that St. Charles hospitals and clinics continue to be safe places to receive care. It is important for you to get the care you need when you need it – do not delay. We are here to take care of you."

As of 7:30 a.m. on Friday, July 24, St. Charles Bend had 16 COVID-19 patients, and three were in ICU and on ventilators. St. Charles has 24 ICU beds in Bend and six in Redmond for a total of 30 throughout their health system.

The COVID-19 website for St. Charles went on to say, "While having a low number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU may seem like it's not too big of a deal, it is important to remember that many patients need ICU care for other reasons like heart attacks, strokes or car accidents."

During Oregon Governor Kate Brown's conference update on Wednesday, July 22, she announced that some new statewide mandates are in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state of Oregon.

The limit of people gathering at all indoor venues was lowered from 250 to 100 in all Phase 2 counties, and includes larger restaurants and bars, churches, movie theaters and gyms in all counties. Oregonians participating in gym activities will also be required to wear face coverings during exercise without exceptions.

"The outdoor venue cap for activities will be maintained at 250 at this time," said Gov. Brown at her conference on Wednesday.

The limit remains at 10 for family or private gatherings.

"We know that indoor gatherings pose a much higher risk than outdoors," Brown went on to say.

Additionally, restaurants and bars in Phase 2 counties where limited indoor service is allowed must stop serving at 10 p.m. instead of midnight.

"All of us changing our behavior in simple ways can prevent this tragedy in Oregon," said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state epidemiologist.

Gov. Brown also explained that statewide, it is now required for children 5 years old and older to wear face coverings indoors, as well as outdoors when the minimum of 6 feet physical distancing is not possible. She added that they are still working with Department of Education for guidelines the coming school year.

Brown said she expects she will hear critics on both sides.

"Some people will think these restrictions do not go far enough," Brown said. "They are legitimately worried about their family members, their friends and their neighbors. Others are going to hear these restrictions and think they go too far and are too onerous. Every business that has to close earlier or serve fewer customers will have to contend with even tighter margins to stay afloat."  

Brown said state officials planned to update the county watch list later last week. The list consists of counties where infection rates have increased substantially. Some counties could come off the list, she said, but others may be added.

She also said there is a potential for 14-day quarantines for visitors from states with high infection rates, but she wants to consult with neighboring states beforehand. Some states have already taken this action.


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