Effective Friday, Aug 27, masks are now required statewide in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible, per orders from Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
The new requirement comes amid a spike in Clackamas County COVID-19 cases, with weekly reported infections reaching levels not seen since late December 2020.
Per the Public Health Division's latest report released Aug. 25, the number of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported in the county between Aug. 15-21 was 964, comprising nearly 10% of all county residents tested during that time frame, according to data collected by the Oregon Health Authority. This amounted to 226 cases per every 100,000 county residents.
The number of cases was up nearly 10% from the previous week's mark of 877, and 63% from the 588 cases reported two weeks prior. The last time the county saw as many cases was back in December 2020, when weekly cases hit their peak of 1,013.
As of Wednesday, Public Health's outbreak team was monitoring 65 high-consequence open outbreaks across the county, up from 16 one month prior. Long-term care facilities saw the largest increase in outbreaks, with 27 currently being monitored by the team.
In response to the rising number of cases, Public Health is currently awarding a total of $1.1 million in grants to community-based organizations and partners for work related to vaccine planning, distribution, education and outreach. To date, three organizations — Boost Oregon, the Slavic Community Center and Energy Iz Everything — have been awarded $30,000 for their continued efforts, and Canby-based organization Bridging Cultures has been awarded $16,125.
Public Health's immunization team reported increased attendance at vaccine clinics, with the largest increases in Molalla and at Clackamas Town Center. Many attendees expressed worry about the rapidly-spreading delta variant as schools reopen this fall. The team is planning back-to-school vaccination events with several school districts.
Public Health's Immunization Outreach Team also gave educational information to 600 people at the Clackamas County Fair Aug. 17-21.
While no vaccine mandates have been implemented for Oregon's general public, health care workers and all teachers, educators, support staff and volunteers in K-12 schools are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.
Gov. Brown's latest mask mandate applies to all individuals regardless of vaccination status, with exceptions including:
• Children under five years old
• Individuals who are actively eating, drinking or sleeping, as well as individuals living outdoors, such as persons experiencing houselessness
• Persons playing or practicing competitive sports, or engaged in an activity in which it is not feasible to wear a mask, such as swimming
• Individuals delivering a speech or performing, such as with outdoor music or theater
• K-12 school districts are not governed by this rule, and may implement mask mandates individually. However, outdoor public events, spectator events and other public gatherings on K-12 school grounds will be subject to the rule.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.