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A new survey by DHM Research found that some Oregonians continue to gather socially on a frequent basis, despite COVID rules.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A family wears face masks for protection against COVID-19. Public health officials have released two new statewide surveys showing the vast majority of Oregonians are wearing a face mask while in public — but some flout medical guidelines and continue to gather in large social groups.

On Oct. 8, the Oregon Health Authority released a new survey of 1,000 Oregonians by DHM research, showing that 84% of state residents wear face masks "indoors in public nearly all the time."

Some 75% of respondents wash their hands at the same frequency, and 89% are "very willing" to quarantine if they learned they were infected by COVID-19.

Compliance on some rules is less widespread. Only six in 10 — 65% — are very willing to share their personal information with a contact tracer.

Two-thirds says they have gathered outside — in a backyard, porch or park — and 52% have gathered with friends inside a house. A similar percentage have traveled more than an hour away.

Four in 10 Oregonians have eaten in a restaurant, but only 9% have attended a religious service. Seven percent have patronized a bar, and just 2% have attended a protest.

"These results show that nearly all Oregonians understand it's important to wear a mask," said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. "But fewer Oregonians believe they're at risk of getting sick and too many people are socializing indoors in bigger groups."

He continued: "It's hard to sustain the changes we've all had to make in our lives to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19. But we won't be able to prevent more infections, and get more schools and businesses open in Oregon, until more people act with urgency and avoid the social super-spreader gatherings that have driven COVID-19 transmission and disease in Oregon."

Conservatives and those living outside the metro area both reported an average of 7.2 social gatherings per two weeks, while liberals and those living in the Portland region reported much fewer social outings, just 4.1 and 4.6 gatherings per two weeks, respectively.

Only 42% of Oregonians are very worried about the COVID-19 situation in Oregon, the survey says.

The DHM poll was conducted by phone and "text to online" to 1,009 Oregonians between Aug. 27 and Sept. 11, with an oversample of 400 residents of color. The margin of error is 3.1%.

Additionally, Lara Media Services surveyed 468 Latinos — finding that 2% of surveyed Spanish speakers are "very worried" someone they lived with would get sick with COVID-19. Fewer Latinos are willing to share intimate details with a contact tracer.


Zane Sparling
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