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Oregon relaxes some restrictions, such as dining in restaurants

Salem, Oregon (AP) — Bars and restaurants will be reopened next week for limited outdoor service, but many restrictions will apply until vaccines against the coronavirus become widely available, Oregon Governor said. Kate Brown said on Wednesday.

She begged the Oregons to stay safe during Thanksgiving holidays and protect others by not ignoring safety protocols such as wearing masks and restricting personal contact.

“Please make wise choices this holiday weekend to protect you, your family, and your neighbors,” she told Zoom press conference. “Irresponsible behavior for Thanksgiving will, at best, prolong the pandemic. At worst, it will send one of your loved ones to the ICU.”

Details are unknown, but state officials have also announced that the vaccine will soon be in Oregon.

The revised limits to counter the unprecedented rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization will come into effect when the current two-week “freeze” expires on December 3. Currently, only takeaway restaurant services are allowed. The restaurant industry strongly opposed the restrictions, as some restaurants were permanently closed and others were at risk of doing so.

Asked at a virtual press conference if he was succumbing to industry pressure, Mr Brown said, “Frankly, I’m in the business of saving lives and sustaining a livelihood.”

State officials also said they expect to prioritize health care workers who care for COVID-19 patients and expect to receive enough from the federal government to vaccinate 30,000 people in December. It was.

“Health and safety prevention so that our school, our business, and our community can reopen and remain open until our COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available. The measures will remain, “Brown said.

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Department of Health (OHA), said the details are still confusing.

He told reporters Tuesday that he had spoken to a general in Operation Warpspeed, a partnership between the federal government and a private pharmaceutical company to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There’s still a lot of lack of clarity,” says Allen, who says Oregon needs more vaccines than it first comes in, but expects that number to grow rapidly, especially if multiple vaccines are distributed. doing.

As of Monday, 21 of 36 counties in Oregon were designated as “extreme risk” due to the number of infections. The highest of the four risk categories includes counties, including the Portland Metropolitan Area, Marion County, Lane County, and Deschutes County.

OHA also reported 1,189 new confirmed estimated cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 68,503 cases across the state. Another 20 people in the state died from the virus, increasing the number of known deaths in the state to 867.

The number of COVID-19 patients admitted across Oregon increased to 489, compared to 113 in the intensive care unit. According to OHA, Oregon has a total of 146 adult ICU beds.

Authorities said the concern, rather than the lack of beds, was that there may not be enough health care workers to cope with the surge in coronavirus infections.

A new stage of restriction allows up to 50 people to eat outdoors in counties at extreme risk. Indoor meals are permitted in high-risk counties, not exceeding 25% capacity, and 50% capacity is designated as medium or low risk.

State epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said outdoor dining does not mean dining in a cloth or plastic walled area, as some restaurants were built due to the cold and rainy weather in Oregon. Said. He said the roof was allowed, but three sides should be open.

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Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky.

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Oregon relaxes some restrictions, such as dining in restaurants

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