By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County at 960 cases; state tightens mask rules

A new workplace outbreak, that began Oct. 12, was reported at Yamhill County Mushrooms, in Yamhill, and has spread to eight people. A case at McMinnville Water & Light, that the state first began investigating on Oct. 6, has now spread to 5 five people.

COVID is spiking in many states, with more than 8 million infected and more than 222,000 dead in the U.S. as of this week, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 11 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, and 373 new cases, bringing the state to 40,810 cases and 646 deaths.

The Washington Post reported this week that death rates from COVID-19 have declined since the beginning of the pandemic, although scientists warn there could still be tens of thousands of deaths from the virus in the U.S. this winter. More than 8.3 million people in the United States have confirmed cases of the disease.

The mortality rate in Oregon is 14.8 deaths per 100,000 Oregonians, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Meanwhile, the CDC this week expanded the definition of “close contact” of an infected person, from someone who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of the infected person, to someone who spent a total of 15 minutes within six feet, over 24 hours.

The CDC noted as many as half of all people who are infected do not show symptoms, stressing that mask-wearing is crucial.

OHA is telling Oregonians to start determining how to keep their masks dry once the rainy season begins, because wet masks are less effective than dry ones. Raincoats with hoods and umbrellas were among their suggestions, along with carrying a spare mask.

The OHA is also urging Oregonians not to delay in getting their flu shots, saying the pandemic makes it more important than ever.

“This will prevent flu illness and deaths and keep people out of the hospital at a time when we need to reserve space for COVID-19 patients and others who may require hospital care,” the OHA said in a press release.

It said the flu shot does not cause people to test positive for COVID-19; the test is specific to the coronavirus.

The department said the weekly report, released on Wednesday, showed a slight decline — 4% — in new cases last week, after spiking over the past month.


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