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Oregon lifts outdoor mask mandate

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The Oregon Health Authority announced Tuesday, Nov. 23 that it is lifting the state’s outdoor mask mandate, effective immediately.

“This rule was implemented back in August at the peak of this most recent surge,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said during a media briefing. “This decision, which takes effect immediately, reflects the overall progress we’ve seen on the COVID-19 front here in Oregon. And it’s a testament to the perseverance of all Oregonians in faithfully adopting the public health interventions we know are effective in containing the spread of the disease.”

Allen added that the decision was made in consultation with Gov. Kate Brown and her advisers. He cited a slow but steady decline in daily cases and hospitalizations the past six weeks as evidence for improving conditions.

Mask wearing is still recommended for people in crowded outdoor environments for an extended period of time, Allen said. The Oregon Health Authority also recommends those at higher risk from the disease still wear masks outdoors. This includes the elderly, immunocompromised and those who have not been vaccinated.

COVID-19 , Infections Surge As, Holiday Season Approaches. 'The Hill' reports cases of COVID-19 are increasing in the United States. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows 29 states are currently experiencing an uptick in confirmed cases. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows 29 states are currently experiencing an uptick in confirmed cases. A report from 'USA Today' claims increased caseloads have been driven by northern states with high vaccination rates. A report from 'USA Today' claims increased caseloads have been driven by northern states with high vaccination rates. Vermont, one of the least-populated states in America, is leading the surge. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that out of Vermont residents aged 12 years and older, 81% are fully vaccinated. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that out of Vermont residents aged 12 years and older, 81% are fully vaccinated. According to 'USA Today,' Florida reported the lowest daily amount of infections per capita. According to 'USA Today,' Florida reported the lowest daily amount of infections per capita. The state reported 1,440 COVID-19 cases on November 9. The state reported 1,440 COVID-19 cases on November 9. At the peak of the pandemic, Florida reported 20,000 cases per day on multiple occasions. Rising infections in Colorado have caused officials to implement the state's crisis care plan. In all, 12 states are experiencing increased ICU occupancy due to COVID-19 infections. . These pandemic trends stoke continued uncertainty for citizens of the United States who yearn for normalcy

During Tuesday’s briefing, Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill outlined a new testing program for Oregon schools. The test-to-stay-program will allow unvaccinated asymptomatic students to continue attending school following a known exposure.

A rapid antigen test will be administered as soon as the exposure is confirmed and again five to seven days later. Students will be able to attend school between these two tests as long as they wear a mask and social distance.

The announcements comes following Monday’s news that Oregon had met a grim milestone as the state’s COVID-19-related death toll surpassed 5,000.

Local COVID-19 news                                 

In an update to Monday’s report, OHA listed eight Linn County newly reported COVID-19-related deaths.

A 68-year-old woman from Linn County tested positive Aug. 22 and died Sept. 3 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

The next county death was a 69-year-old woman who tested positive Aug. 22 and died Sept. 4 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is also being confirmed.

A 79-year-old man from Linn County was the next death. He tested positive Aug. 31 and died at his residence Sept. 6. He had underlying conditions.

A 70-year-old man tested positive Aug. 25 and died Sept. 7 at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. He also had underlying conditions.

A 76-year-old woman, who tested positive Sept. 2 and died Sept. 9 at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, had underlying conditions.

A 72-year-old man from Linn County tested positive Sept. 16 and died Sept. 15 at his residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

The seventh reported Linn County death from Monday was a 50-year-old woman who tested positive Sept. 2 and died Sept. 18 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is still being confirmed.

The final Linn County COVID-19 related death reported on Monday was a 53-year-old woman who tested positive Sept. 28 and died the same day at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

In Tuesday’s OHA report, Linn County logged six new COVID-19-related deaths. This brings the county's death toll to 174.

The first Linn County death reported on Tuesday was a 79-year-old man who first became symptomatic Sept. 12 and died Sept. 19 at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

A 64-year-old man from the county tested positive Sept. 5 and died Sept. 19 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is also being confirmed.

The next COVID-19 related death reported Tuesday was an 81-year-old man who tested positive Sept. 20 and died Sept. 20 at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend. He had underlying conditions.

A 91-year-old Linn County man tested positive Sept. 19 and died Sept. 21 at Samaritan Lebanon Regional Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

The fifth COVID-19 related death in Linn County reported Tuesday was a 72-year-old man who tested positive Aug. 30 and died Sept. 24 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

The final death recorded in the county Tuesday was a 71-year-old woman who tested positive May 1 and died Sept. 26 at her residence. According to OHA, the death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as her cause of death as a significant condition contributing to her death. She had underlying conditions.

Linn County also reported 23 new confirmed and presumptive cases. The cumulative number of cases is 14,438.

Benton County recorded three new cases, bringing the running number of case to 6,040. There were no new deaths reported. The Benton County death toll remains at 37.

Oregon logged 869 new confirmed and presumptive cases. The cumulative number of cases for the state is 386,634. There were also 51 new deaths reported statewide. The state’s death toll is 5,066.

Hospitalizations: There are 404 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon, which is nine more than the last report. There are also 92 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds. This is six more than the previous data.

There are 44 available adult ICU beds, making for a 6% availability. There are 316 available adult non-ICU beds, an 8% availability.

The region that encompasses Linn and Benton counties has 6% of adult ICU beds available and 3% of adult non-ICU beds available.

Vaccinations: OHA reported that 38,587 new doses of coronavirus vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry on Monday. The seven-day running average for vaccinations is 18,679 doses per day.

According to Tuesday’s report, 2.9 million people have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and nearly 2.65 million people have completed a vaccine series.

National numbers: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 162,204 new and presumptive COVID-19 cases for the United States. The cumulative number of cases for the country is around 47.8 million.

The CDC also logged 1,230 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the country’s death toll to 772,180.

Maddie Pfeifer covers public safety for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or Madison.Pfeifer@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @maddiepfeifer_

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