Health officials urge Oregonians to stay alert over Labor Day in light of pandemic spreads linked to long weekends

Holiday weekends this year have led to statewide upticks in the spread of COVID-19.

That is a point of emphasis that Oregon Health Authority is making in advance of the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

OHA statistics indicate that Oregonians are successfully slowing the spread of COVID-19 by following public health guidances, such as wearing masks while shopping or running errands and staying home as much as possible. Health officials are hoping to see that ebb continue, but worry that a relaxation of safe practices over a three-day weekend could trigger a relapse.COURTESY OF THE OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY - OHA tip sheet.

An OHA press release noted: "Because of people like you, we have seen the number of new cases falling. If we want to keep our friends, neighbors and families healthy, Oregonians need to modify or cancel holiday weekend gatherings and celebrate in safe ways so we can continue to make progress against COVID-19."

Gov. Kate Brown reiterated OHA advisories.

"Together, we have slowed the spread of this disease. Oregon has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country," Brown said. "But, as students across Oregon begin a school year far different than any other before, it is clear that, at current COVID-19 levels, it will not be safe in much of the state for children to return to in-classroom instruction for months to come. "This Labor Day weekend is another critical moment in this crisis," she added. "We can work together to stay safe and put Oregon on the path to return more students to classrooms. Or, we could see Labor Day celebrations unknowingly sow the seeds of COVID-19 outbreaks that could set us back for months. Until there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19, this disease can spread like wildfire if we let our guard down."

Health officials statewide have reported data that show social gatherings as a significant source of new COVID-19 cases and the pandemic's spread.

OHA shared tips for college students preparing for campus life during COVID-19, as well as reminder precautions to the general public:

•Stay at least six feet apart from people you don't live with. This may mean taking turns when using elevators or stairwells, or when using shared living spaces like a bathroom, kitchen, laundry or exercise room.

•Wear a mask or face covering in shared spaces with people who don't live with you.

K•eep visitors to a minimum, just like you would at home. Indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people or fewer.

•Practice good hand hygiene.

•Don't share food, dishes, glasses or eating utensils.

•Don't place personal items like toothbrushes on shared surfaces like sinks or counters. Put these items in a tote you can carry to avoid touching the surface.

For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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