The Oregon Health Authority recommended on Tuesday, July 27, that everyone wear masks in indoor public settings to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The announcement followed a meeting with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown after an updated COVID-19 mask recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reversed course earlier Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.
The change followed an increase in cases fueled by the spread of Delta variant.
"The highly contagious Delta variant has increased tenfold in the past two weeks in Oregon, and it is now estimated to be associated with 80% of the new cases in Oregon. The use of face masks provides significant protection for individuals who are unvaccinated as well as an additional level protection from a small but known risk of infection by the virus for persons who have already been vaccinated," said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist and state health officer.
Oregon reported 1,032 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 216,875. Five more deaths were reported, bringing the the state's death toll to 2,843.
Health officials said 259 Oregonians have been hospitalized due to the virus, 52 more than Monday. A total of 77 of them are in intensive care.
Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The new guidance follows recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have been especially bad in the South. The country is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of Pamplin Media Group.
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.