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Multnomah County strongly urges wearing masks after rise in COVID cases

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 6:43 AM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Just weeks after Oregon ended its statewide mask mandate, Multnomah County health officials are now strongly urging you to wear a mask indoors.

They issued that guidance Thursday, citing a rise in infections and hospitalizations.

Multnomah County public health made it clear that this is not a new mandate, but they are asking people to wear masks indoors until case numbers, and hospitalizations, drop back down.

The county is averaging about 350 new cases a day. That’s up from less than a hundred in early April.

The county’s health officials say they have not seen a rise in school-aged people being hospitalized with the virus. That suggests people in that age group are experiencing mild symptoms or none at all. But they say new infections and outbreaks are increasing in schools and among school-aged kids.

They’re also recommending people at high risk of getting severe symptoms to avoid crowded indoor settings for the next few weeks.

Earlier this month the CDC shifted Multnomah County from a low to medium COVID-19 community level. In those situations, the CDC only recommends people at high risk for severe illness talk to their doctors about wearing a mask.

Clackamas and Washington counties are also both in the “medium” risk category. Health officials in those counties have not made similar recommendations about wearing a mask indoors.

According to a forecast by OHSU, the current COVID-19 wave is expected to peak in about a month.