▶️ COVID cases hit new daily high; protestors rally against gathering restrictions

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

As Oregon set another single-day record for COVID cases Saturday, hundreds of people rallied locally and across the state saying they won’t comply with the governor’s new rules aimed at reducing the virus’s spread.

The OHA reported 1,509 new and presumptive COVID cases on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 63,668.

Seven new deaths bring the Oregon death toll to 819.

Meanwhile, groups gathered in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville to tell Gov. Kate Brown they won’t comply with her “illegal and illogical mandates.”

“Families and friends can and will be getting together as often as they’d like in as large of quantities as they want and there is no way we will be altering our holiday plans simply because the governor told us to,” said Tommy Szymanski of Bend, in an email announcing the protest in downtown Bend.

“The governor works for us, not the other way around,” he said.

More than 100 people gathered at the corner of Wall St. and Newport Avenue in Bend beginning at noon Saturday.

Some held signs that read “All Businesses Matter,” “Resist,” “Do Your Own Research” and “God is my Savior, Trump is my President.”

Syzmanski’s email goes on to say the protestors “understand” there are risks to COVID “but other normal seasonal sicknesses” as well.

Deschutes County reported 60 COVID cases on Friday and 35 more on Saturday, bringing the week’s total to nearly 250.

The OHA reported four positive cases of the flu statewide last week.

A Bend “We Will Not Comply” Facebook event showed 59 people said they “went” to the rally and 216 people were “interested.”

“Time for complaining on Facebook is at an end, and time to start taking our message to the streets, and get as loud as needed to put an end to this,” the event post said. “You know why this is continuing? Because those wanting a socialist state are ok with being super loud and hitting the streets, so why aren’t we, the ones who want to protect our rights just as much as we want to protect others lives!”

Brown last week announced a statewide two-week freeze that returned restaurants and bars to take-out only, closed gyms and limited the number of people who could gather in churches, among other restrictions.

The freeze also included language limiting social get-togethers to no more than six people total from no more than two households.

The hope was to limit large multi-family gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday.

There’s been plenty of pushback to the new restrictions from small business industry groups, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, several Oregon lawmakers, local county commissioners, and law enforcement.

Crook County’s Sheriff went as far as to say on Friday he would not enforce any of the new mandates.

This, as new daily numbers “reflect an accelerating spread of the virus across the state,” the OHA said Saturday.

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