The governor of Oregon announced all residents, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks indoors once again. She previously lifted the mask mandate on June 30th.
Democrat Governor Kate Brown did not give a specific date for the mandate’s reinstatement, but said more details will be released at a press conference on Wednesday.
“The governor’s announcements came on the day Oregon set new records for daily cases, at 2,329, and people hospitalized with COVID-19, at 635, including a record 164 people in intensive care,” says Channel 411 News.
In a statement, Brown said, “Oregon is facing a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations – consisting overwhelmingly of unvaccinated individuals – that is quickly exceeding the darkest days of our winter surge. When our hospitals are full, there will be no room for additional patients needing care – whether for COVID-19, a heart attack or stroke, a car collision, or a variety of other emergency situations. If our hospitals run out of staffed beds, all Oregonians will be at risk.”
Oregon joins Louisiana as the second state to reinstate the mask mandate. Louisiana had the nation’s highest rates of COVID-19 in the country and mandated masks while indoors for all residents in early August.
Nevada also reimposed masks while indoors regardless of vaccination status, but only in counties and cities with high transmission rates.
Hawaii is the only state that never repealed its indoor mask mandate.
“While vaccination does not provide total protection against Covid-19 infection, it makes it less likely and protects against severe illness, hospitalization and death. Growing evidence suggests the variant is transmitted just as easily by vaccinated people as by unvaccinated people, motivating new CDC guidance and a flurry of local and business mask mandates to encourage people to wear them indoors regardless of vaccination status to slow down the virus,” per Forbes.
The Oregonian noted that “the state’s earlier interventions – a stay-home order, mask mandates, business closures, and capacity limits – may be exacerbating the problem now, with more people lacking natural immunity from past infections. And while inoculation rates are somewhat higher than average in Oregon, a big swath of the population – some 1.7 million people, including all children 11 and younger – remain unvaccinated.”
In addition to requiring masks while indoors, Brown will require state employees in the executive branch to show proof of full vaccination status starting on October 18.
This excludes the state’s legislative and judicial branches.