Brown to announce new measures to address state’s ‘alarming spike’ in COVID cases

Gov. Kate Brown will hold a noon news conference Friday to “announce new measures to address Oregon’s alarming spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”

The news comes hours after the Oregon Health Authority reported 1,122 new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19, shattering its previous one-day record and blowing past more than 1,000 new daily cases for the first time as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly statewide.

Just two days ago, Brown held a press conference to warn Oregonians about the impact of rising hospitalizations and urged everyone to hunker down in the fight against COVID.

Thursday’s report brings the total number of cases to 53,779 and the total number of deaths to 746.

Between Nov. 2 and Nov. 8, the state saw a 46% increase in the number of cases over the previous week’s tally, health officials said.

Several major hospitals in Portland have begun curtailing elective surgeries this week amid the surge. State health data shows that about 20% of intensive care unit beds and 13% of regular hospital beds statewide remain free — a drop from even two days ago despite hospitals bringing additional beds into service. And 290 people are hospitalized with the virus.

Three out of the five major Portland hospital systems — Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Sciences University and Kaiser Permanente Northwest — are instituting new limits on surgeries to keep hospital beds free, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday.

Nine counties with high COVID transmission — including all of the Portland metropolitan area — began a two-week pause on social activities Wednesday to attempt to keep the virus under control.

The updated safety measures include halting visitations to long-term care facilities, reducing the capacity of indoor dining at restaurants to 50 people, encouraging all business to mandate work from home and urging Oregon residents not to gather with people who do not live in their household and if they do so to limit the gatherings to six people.

These pause measures will be in effect from through Nov. 25 for Baker, Clackamas, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Jackson, Umatilla, Union and Washington counties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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