By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Oregon hits milestone, enters partial lockdown

Oregon recorded more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a day for the first time last week, Thursday through Saturday, leading Gov. Kate Brown to order a statewide partial lockdown from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2. 

The state announced 1,122, 1,076 and 1,097 new confirmed and presumptive cases for the three days, respectively. On Sunday, it recorded 868 new cases, followed by 781 Monday, along with four dealths, bringing the state to cumulative totals of 57,646 cases and 765 deaths.

Yamhill County reported on Monday 71 new cases over the previous three days, bringing the county total to 1,365 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Monday, it noted the number of people hospitalized since last March had risen by two, to 49.

Providence Newberg Hospital was reported by the state to be among the hospitals with between one and nine patients the week of Nov. 2 to Nov. 8. Willamette Valley Medical Center was not on the list.

Of the new cases recorded since Friday, 34 were in the McMinnville zip code, bringing the area to 674 cases, and 26 were in the Newberg area, bringing it to 315.

All numbers are cumulative, as the county does not report numbers of people who have recovered.

Two new workplace outbreaks were reported in Yamhill County: eight cases have been associated with World Class Technology, according to an investigation that began on Nov. 6; seven cases have been linked to Skyline Homes Inc. in McMinnville, but the most recently reported case was Oct. 30, according to an investigation that began on Nov. 5. 

The Oregon Health Authority reports workplace outbreaks with five or more cases, and only for companies with at least 30 workers.

“Case counts include all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts,” it stated.

There is also an outbreak at Monrovia Nursery in Dayton, with five associated cases, but the most recent new case was reported Oct. 30.

Several health officials accompanied Gov. Brown during a Friday press conference to announce the two week “freeze.”

“COVID-19 is raging across Oregon. The virus is spreading fast, and it threatens to overwhelm hospitals across the state with severely ill patients, if we don’t act now,” state Health Officer Dean Sidelinger said in a press conference.

Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency medicine physician at Oregon Health & Science University, urged Oregonians to comply.

“Now is the time to double down on the only truly effective measures to stop the virus: Wear a mask, keep your physical distance, wash your hands … and for the next two weeks, please stay home,” Choo said. “Stay home and save my life and the lives of my family, neighbors, friends and essential workers across the state.”

Private social gatherings are now restricted to no more than six people, from no more than two households, whether they take place indoors or outside. In the past, Gov. Brown has described social get-together measures as “self-enforced.”

Restaurants and bars are restricted to take-out and delivery only.

Gyms, fitness centers, museums, pools, sports courts and other indoor and outdoor entertainment venues are closed, along with zoos, aquariums and outdoor pools.

Grocery stores and pharmacies are limited to a maximum of 75% capacity, and curbside pickup is encouraged.

Businesses are required to mandate employees work from home “to the greatest extent possible,” and to close their offices to the public.

Indoor visits to long-term care facilities are prohibited, although outdoor visits are allowed.

Barbershops and hair salons are still allowed to operate, along with massage parlors and physical therapy centers.

Homeless shelters are also allowed to continue operating.

The state said hospitalizations and deaths from the disease in the first week of November were at record highs, and that new cases had increased 46% over the previous week.

The LatinX community has been especially hard-hit in Oregon, comprising 13% of the population, but 42% of the cases with known ethnicity, according to the state. The disease has also hit Black communities particularly hard. All people of color show a much higher rate of the disease than white Oregonians.

Governor Kate Brown on Friday joined California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee in issuing a travel advisory, asking residents to avoid all non-essential travel, and to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival travel is unavoidable.

The three states’ advisories also urged people to limit their interactions to members of their immediate households.

Essential travel is defined as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” Brown said in a press release. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

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