Clackamas County reacts to two-week pause to fight COVID-19

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OREGON CITY, Ore. – Clackamas County will join other counties in Oregon in taking a “two-week pause” to fight COVID-19 starting Wednesday, Nov. 11. The two-week pause limits social interaction, in an effort to curb spiking COVID-19 infection rates.

“We realize that the news of a two-week pause is something Clackamas County residents did not want to hear,” said Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard. “We understand this is disappointing. But it’s necessary.”

Governor Kate Brown ordered the two-week pause in counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period. Clackamas County is reporting 122 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last week and 80.5 cases per 100,000 people in the previous week. If positive cases continue to increase at this rate (34% increase), Clackamas County may see more than 200 cases per 100,000 people by the end of next week. The governor included Clackamas County in the two-week pause because of this unfortunate trajectory in positive COVID-19 cases.

“Please don’t wait to do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19,” says Clackamas County Public Health Officer Doctor Sarah Present. “We understand people miss seeing their loved ones, and it’s more challenging to wear a face covering and distance when we are with people we trust. However, we are not going to contact trace or test our way out of this pandemic. The change will come when individual behavior changes collectively – that's in our control.”

Most people who contract COVID-19 get it from family and friends who are increasingly attending indoor social gatherings and aren’t using face coverings. Public health officials find that most positive COVID-19 cases in Clackamas County are from social gatherings large and small. Officials say a two-week pause should help slow the spread of the virus before maxing out hospital capacity, putting a strain on PPE supply chains and requiring further lockdown.

“We’ve been through a lot in Clackamas County with this deadly disease and devastating wildfires and the resilience of our communities is impressive,” says Chair Bernard. “We’re in a tenuous phase with COVID-19 and are asking you to please heed the call for a two-week pause, so we can work to reopen.”

The two-week pause mandate includes: stopping visitations at long-term care facilities; reducing the number of patrons in restaurants and bars; reducing indoor group sizes to a maximum of six people; and asking businesses to require staff to work from home as much as possible. The governor will have these measures in place from Wednesday, Nov. 11 to Wednesday, Nov. 25.

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