Oregon governor expands mask requirements amid increase in coronavirus cases

Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownBusinesses and states launch own relief funds as congressional talks stall COVID-19 changed learning, but obstructionist politics of education remain Cuccinelli says DHS to change camouflage uniforms of federal agents used in Portland MORE (D) expanded the state’s mask requirements on Monday as coronavirus cases steadily rise. 

Brown announced that the extension to mandate masks outdoors if social distancing is not possible will begin Wednesday. Masks are already required in indoor spaces that are open to the public.

The governor also ordered a ban on indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people, though she says it does not apply to churches or workplaces at this time. 

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“Today we are sounding the alarm because we are at risk of allowing the virus to spiral out of control,” Brown said during a press briefing.

"This is what we saw in New York in the spring and what we are seeing now in Texas and Arizona," she added. "The question now is whether Oregon will be next New York or the next Texas."

For now, Brown said that restaurants and bars do not appear to be sources of “significant” spread, so she will not shut them down. But she added that “nothing is off the table.”

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The governor cited statistics that showed Oregon recorded more cases in the past week than during the entire month of May. She also pointed out that almost half of the newly reported cases involve people under 40 and that almost a third involve people under 30. 

“We have done so much,” she said. “We have come so far. We have sacrificed so deeply. We cannot let this virus get the best of us.

Oregon has recorded 12,438 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, leading to 237 deaths. More than 30 percent of those cases were identified in the last two weeks, according to data from The New York Times.