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OHA Says Indoor Gatherings Driving Virus Spread

Coronavirus Update nameplate

November 5, 2020

#MyORHealth horizontal rule

In-person indoor gatherings driving spread of COVID-19 and record cases

Today, we reported 805 new COVID-19 cases in Oregon; sadly, this is another record daily case count.

The cause of today’s cases is still under investigation, but data from recent weeks continues to show that increased spread is due to small informal gatherings rather than large workplace or other outbreaks, according to Dean Sidelinger, state health officer at OHA. Sporadic cases – those not traced to a source – are also increasing. The percentage of positive tests is also rising, up to 8.5% last week.

“COVID-19 is spreading in Oregon at an unprecedented rate, driven in no small measure by in-person, indoor social gatherings. You are most likely to get COVID-19 from your family and friends,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Let me be clear: We cannot allow this disease to continue to spread so rapidly in our communities. Lives are at stake. Oregonians have made tremendous sacrifices to help each other throughout this pandemic, which is why Oregon has done relatively better than many other states at containing COVID-19. We can’t let up now. I will take further action to stop the spread of COVID-19, and I need Oregonians to continue to do their part as well.”

“Today’s high case count, combined with recent high counts, continue to show that COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly in Oregon than we had hoped,” Sidelinger said. “All this data leads us to conclude that Oregonians are circulating more in their communities. They are letting their guard down – and doing so as the weather turns colder. They are also spending more time indoors. Our tools to manage such spread rely on Oregonians getting more strict with themselves: not gathering or attending parties of any kind, wearing face coverings when outside the household, and physically distancing at all times.” 

#MyORHealth horizontal rule

Making your holiday to-do list? Check off one thing now: Get a flu shot

The flu vaccine can take up to two weeks to become effective, so no matter what you have planned for Thanksgiving this year, get your flu shot now.

“Getting a flu vaccine is an easy way people can protect themselves and their loved ones and help reduce the spread of flu this fall and winter,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Flu vaccines are safe and effective but will not protect against COVID-19. “We need to lessen the dual threat of flu and COVID-19 spreading at the same time,” Cieslak said. A “twindemic” of two potentially fatal viruses circulating at the same time could burden the state’s health care system and result in many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

OHA recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, local health departments and many pharmacies. The vaccine is free or low cost with most health insurance plans. To find a flu vaccine clinic, visit www.flu.oregon.gov and use OHA’s flu vaccine locator tool.

Check out this infographic about flu shots and share it with your friends and family on your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Don't wait to vaccinate everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot

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