Most Oregonians should wear masks to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, according to federal health guidance, with 24 counties now seeing “high” levels of COVID-19, as determined by occupied hospital beds, admissions and total cases.
At that risk level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone to wear masks in indoor public places and get tested for COVID-19 if they experience symptoms. Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties are among those the CDC says have high levels of COVID-19.
Oregon’s other 12 counties are seeing medium community levels of COVID-19, according the CDC. The Oregon Health Authority has previously recommended masks be worn in indoor public places in counties at that risk level, too.
The Oregon Health Authority recommends people in the high-level counties wear masks regardless of vaccination status, but does not plan to reinstate a public indoor mask mandate, a spokesperson for the agency said in an email.
The health authority urged Oregonians anticipating the holiday weekend to remember the virus is widespread.
“Consider spending more time outside with friends and family over indoor activities,” the Oregon Health Authority said in a tweet Thursday evening. “If you’re indoors, wearing the highest quality mask you can find offers extra protection.”
Identified infections are averaging about 1,600 new cases a day. Nearly 420 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, and more than 14% of all reported COVID-19 tests in Oregon reported that day came back positive, according to state data.