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The state economy continues to reopen slowly despite health officials' warnings.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Saturday Market in a previous year.Oregon is continuing to slowly return to normal even as health officials warn the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.

In Portland, both the Saturday Market and Oaks Amusement Park reopened with precautions on Saturday, April 17. Saturday Market reopened in Tom McCall Waterfront Park under sunny skies with the number of vendors limited to 160. And Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood reopened at 15% capacity.

At the same time, the Associated Press reported a top state health official is considering indefinitely extending rules requiring masks and social distancing in all businesses. Many other states in the country are easing such restrictions, however.

"We are not out of the woods yet," Michael Wood, administrator of the state's department of Occupational Safety and Health, said in the article posted on the KOIN 6 News website.

A forecast released by Oregon Health & Science University on Friday predicts the average number of new cases will more than double to 1,210 by May 4. The forecast also predicts the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients will increase by 66%, to about 330 by mid-May.

Under current state guidelines, surpassing 300 hospitalizations would be among the triggers for potential bans on indoor dining and drinking in Oregon's hardest-hit counties.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 888 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, bringing the state's total number of infections to 174,501.

The agency also added three more deaths associated with the virus: a 66-year-old Multnomah County man; a 68-year-old Multnomah County man; and a 58-year-old Yamhill County man. All three victims had underlying medical conditions, according to health officials. To date, 2,460 Oregonians have perished from COVID-19.

Oregon has so far administered a total of 1,292,612 first and second doses of Pfizer; 1,109,671 first and second doses of Moderna; and 88,104 single doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The seven-day running average is now 37,507 doses per day, according to the health authority.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Oregon increased by one to 200 on April 17, and the number of intensive unit care patients fell by five to 47.

The new cases reported Saturday were in the following counties: Baker (6), Benton (7), Clackamas (96), Clatsop (8), Columbia (7), Coos (2), Crook (10), Curry (2), Deschutes (94), Douglas (16), Gilliam (1), Grant (2), Harney (1), Jackson (58), Jefferson (6), Josephine (13), Klamath (45), Lane (75), Lincoln (5), Linn (37), Malheur (2), Marion (79), Morrow (1), Multnomah (161), Polk (12), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (15), Wasco (3), Washington (103) and Yamhill (17).

{obj:53515:KOIN 6 News} is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.


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