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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown defends state return to COVID lock



The Oregon government has blamed Kate Brown for the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for her decision to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions in 36 counties.

On Thursday, Brown extended Oregon’s state of emergency for COVID-19 until June 28, saying the fourth tide of the pandemic was due to variants of the disease and was causing increased cases and hospitalizations.

The declaration allows Brown to issue restraining orders and helps the state use federal funds to alleviate COVID, the governor’s office said.

“As for why the state approach is about hospitalizations and health care capacity,” Brown told KATU.

The new exclusions come when Brown says the “vast majority”

; of new COVID-19 cases come from younger, unvaccinated residents.

The head of public health said the “demand” for vaccines was falling sharply. It’s not clear why, but some studies show that younger people are reluctant to shoot.

Oregon government's Kate Brown blames rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for its decision to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions in 36 counties

Oregon government’s Kate Brown blames rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for its decision to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions in 36 counties

On Thursday, Brown extended Oregon's COVID-19 state of emergency until June 28, saying the fourth outbreak of a pandemic was due to variants of the disease and was causing increased cases (pictured) and hospitalizations.

On Thursday, Brown extended Oregon’s COVID-19 state of emergency until June 28, saying the fourth outbreak of a pandemic was due to variants of the disease and was causing increased cases (pictured) and hospitalizations.

Brown was referring to the 15 counties she placed in the state’s extreme risk category. Restrictions in these areas include a ban on eating indoors.

The high-risk charts are: Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Wasco.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, whose town is partly in Multnoma County, which was at extreme risk, urged people to use safety protocols to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

“The key to opening up our city is ending the pandemic,” Wheeler said.

The restaurant industry has objected to Brown’s action, with the Oregon Restaurant and Housing Association saying the state lost more than 1,000 food businesses in 2020 and that 200 have been closed permanently so far this year.

The association wrote a letter to Brown last week asking her to reconsider her “approach to virus mitigation measures at this stage of the crisis.”

“The options are really worrying and we share your concern about their spread. But closing our restaurants and further depriving Oregonians of the right to take calculated risks of participating in the community when the virus continues to spread elsewhere will not be successful, “the letter said.

The group added: “The time has come to enable our communities to move forward while taking ongoing health and safety measures.

Brown said hospitalizations had almost doubled in the past two weeks, to more than 300

Brown said hospitalizations had almost doubled in the past two weeks, to more than 300

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Oregon is 331, which is three less than on Friday.  There are 71 patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit beds

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Oregon is 331, which is three less than on Friday. There are 71 patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit beds

The restaurant industry (image file) objected to Brown's action, with the Oregon Restaurant and Housing Association saying the state lost more than 1,000 food businesses in 2020 and that 200 have been closed permanently so far this year.

The restaurant industry (image file) objected to Brown’s action, with the Oregon Restaurant and Housing Association saying the state lost more than 1,000 food businesses in 2020 and that 200 have been closed permanently so far this year.

“Our people understand the risks associated with COVID, and our companies have proven their ability to adhere to the highest expectations in terms of safety, hygiene and air quality.”

But Brown says her actions are temporary.

“I intend to fully open our economy by the end of June and the day is approaching when my emergency orders may be revoked,” Brown said in a statement.

“How fast we get there depends on each of us doing our part.”

Brown said more than 1.2 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated, but the “vast majority” of new cases are from younger, unvaccinated residents. Oregon has a population of more than 4.2 million.

Public Health Director Joe Fumara also said that the “demand level” for vaccines was “drastically declining.”

For example, Umatila County has about 6,000 doses, and last week it administered less than 500 doses while health workers sat idle waiting for people to come.

The level of vaccinations in the predominantly rural county is far less than what health experts need: According to the Oregon Health Service, only about 19,000 people have been vaccinated in whole or in part in the county, where 78,000 people live.

Fiumara did not say why Oregonians may be reluctant to get the breakthrough, but a study published early last month found that when it comes to age, vaccine fluctuations are greatest among young people.

About 31 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 say they may not receive the vaccine for fear of side effects, according to the Delphi group at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Brown said hospitalizations had almost doubled in the past two weeks, to more than 300.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Oregon is 331, which is three less than on Friday.

There are 71 patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit beds.

Oregon health officials reported three new COVID-19-related deaths on Saturday, raising the number of deaths in the state to 2,498.

The Oregon Health Authority also reported 794 new confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19, resulting in a total of 59,597 states.

As of Saturday, the state had administered more than 1.6 million first and second doses of Pfizer, more than 1.3 million first and second doses of Moderna, and 95,600 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

The current seven-day current average is 34,801 doses per day.


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