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COVID-19 cases and deaths continue trending down after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issues an executive order to reopen public schools.

COURTESY PHOTO - Public schools in Osegon could look like this in a few weeks.Newly reported COVID-19 cases and deaths continued trending down two days after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order to reopen public schools in coming weeks.

Brown mandated on Friday, March 5, that public school students be back in classrooms before the weeks of March 29 for elementary students and April 19 for middle and high schoolers.

"Whether or not public schools should return kids to the classroom this spring is no longer up for discussion: the science and data is clear, schools can return to in-person instruction with a very low risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly with a vaccinated workforce," Brown said in a letter to state health and education agencies.

Brown herself received a Johnson & Johnson vaccination Saturday, March 6.

On Sunday, March 7, the Oregon Health Authority reported 211 new cases and no additional deaths from COVID-19. That continues the downward trend of recent weeks.

"Thanks to the smart choices Oregonians have made, our COVID-19 numbers have declined. All but six counties now meet or exceed Oregon's advisory metrics for a return to in-person, hybrid learning for all K-12 grade levels," Brown said in a statement.

Brown also noted that, with proper safety measures, "there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Oregon parents can be confident about sending their children back to school."

As of Sunday, the health authority has reported 157,285 COVID-19 cases and 2,296 deaths from the virus.

The health authority also said that by March 7, Oregon had administered a cumulative total of 1,142,035 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 1,362,535 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 116, which is three more than Saturday. There are 34 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is five more than Saturday.

The new cases were reported in the following counties: Benton (10), Clackamas (26), Columbia (1), Coos (4), Curry (8), Deschutes (9), Douglas (12), Hood River (1), Jackson (13), Jefferson (3), Josephine (5), Klamath (1), Lake (3), Lane (16), Lincoln (1), Linn (7), Malheur (2), Marion (17), Morrow (1), Multnomah (23), Polk (8), Tillamook (4), Washington (20), Yamhill (16).

A Pamplin Media Group story on Brown's announcement can be found here.

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