Oregon governor says hospitals could be overwhelmed if coronavirus cases not reduced, mandates face coverings

Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that Oregon residents will be required to wear face coverings inside public indoor spaces, warning that hospitals in her state could be overwhelmed if the spread of coronavirus doesn’t slow.

“From the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening comes with the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond our health systems’ capacity to test, trace, and isolate them,” Brown said in a statement. “Over the last month, we have seen the disease spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties.”

“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” the Democratic governor continued. “I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public.”

Face masks are already required in eight counties, but will now be required in indoor public spaces statewide beginning July 1.

She urged residents to keep Fourth of July celebrations “small and local,” citing a spike in coronavirus which followed Memorial Day celebrations.

Oregon saw 247 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 8,341 cases. No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the state’s death count at 202.

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