The Oregon Health Authority notified Baker County that the county is now on the list of counties on a “two-week pause” of social activities. This takes effect November 11 and lasts through November 25. On Friday, November 6, Governor Kate Brown announced that new measures pausing social activities to help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 would be implemented in counties that were experiencing an increase in community transmission. For Baker County, the decision to be placed on a two-week pause comes on the heels of a weekly total of 37 cases occurring between November 1-November 7. Baker County experienced its highest daily total of 13 cases on November 4.
Governor Brown stated, “The Two-Week Pause measures are designed to reduce the number of people we interact with and the frequency of those encounters.” These measures include: reducing restaurant capacity to 50 people (including customers and staff), urging businesses to mandate work from home to the greatest extent possible, limiting social gatherings to your household or no more than 6 people if the gathering includes those from outside your household. Governor Brown’s full remarks can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-q7KEAXEcryFx6pGoNRsvrM4DTWTLdGs/view. These measures will replace the County Watch List process that was implemented in July.
Local contact tracers have discovered that the majority of the spread is occurring during social gatherings with family and friends. Previously, Oregon Health Authority guidance limited the capacity of indoor social get-togethers to ten people. An indoor social get-together is defined as: “a group of individuals meeting for a common social or recreational purpose indoors.” These may include indoor dinner parties, potlucks, birthday parties, or other similar indoor gatherings.
The two-week pause measures will apply to counties that are experiencing a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people. Counties being placed on the Two-Week Pause include: Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla, Baker, Clackamas, Union and Washington.
Commissioner Mark Bennett says, “This is a sobering reminder that COVID-19 is spreading quickly in our community. Although many may be experiencing pandemic fatigue and ready for this to be over, please remain vigilant and continue to protect yourself and those around you. Wear your mask, wash your hands and maintain at least six feet of distance from those who aren’t part of your household. A healthy community is critical to keeping our businesses open and our children in school.”