November 27, 2020

Multnomah County announced today it will comply with Gov. Kate Brown’s new health and safety measures for Oregon counties. Multnomah County will move into an extreme risk category on Dec. 3 in order to align with the rest of the Metro area and will adopt the state’s criteria for restrictions.

While the new metrics are part of a risk-reduction framework, any activity outside your home carries risk of spread of COVID-19. And while news of several vaccine trials signals hope, it will take well into 2021 or beyond until the risk is reduced enough to return to pre-COVID-19 behaviors.

“We are still facing potential spread that can overwhelm our health care in the next few weeks," said Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. “We can all do our part by limiting how much we mix with people outside our households, regardless of formal restrictions.” 

Everyone should avoid the “three Cs:

  • Crowded spaces where you are around many people

  • Close contact settings where people take off their masks and have close conversations.

  • Confined space, which means any enclosed area with poor ventilation.

Instead, we can protect one another by:

  • Wearing a mask indoors and out whenever you’re with anyone outside your household

  • Washing hands frequently.

  • Maintaining six feet distance.

  • Opening windows and doors often to improve air flow.

Multnomah County will continue to closely track virus transmission to best protect its 821,000 residents and the 1.8 million people in the Portland Metro area. The County has a unique role in the state as it is home to most of the state’s hospital beds, and the only specialized trauma and burn centers in the state.  What happens in the rest of the state impacts our local community as people come from across the state to seek this specialized care.

“I know that Multnomah County residents are looking for clarity and certainty. Unfortunately, we are going to be in this crisis for the foreseeable future. We are constantly weighing our options as we focus on what is best for the overall health and welfare of our community,’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury.

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