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Governor Kate Brown Defends Decision To Put 15 Counties In “Extreme” Risk Category

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Gov. Kate Brown is defending her decision to implement further restrictions in one-third of Oregon’s counties, saying that for the second week in a row, the state leads the nation with the fastest growing infection rate and that she is “gravely concerned” about hospital capacity.

In an attempt to slow the spread of the deadly virus, restaurants in 15 counties closed indoor dining on Friday and significant capacity reductions were implemented in gym, indoor sports facilities and indoor entertainment space.

This week, the Oregon Health Authority reported that the state recorded its fifth straight week where cases have increases by 20% more.

Watch the Governor’s Press Conference:

Here’s more from the Governor’s Office:

Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown held a press conference today to provide an update on the status of COVID-19 in Oregon. The Governor was joined by Dr. Peter Graven, Lead Data Scientist, Oregon Health & Science University; Mariana Robins, a 15-year old with long-haul COVID-19 symptoms; Dr. Dean Sidelinger, State Epidemiologist, Oregon Health Authority (OHA); and Dana Hargunani, Chief Medical Officer, OHA.

“As we are facing widespread cases, driven by new, more contagious variants, I was presented with data showing two paths Oregon could take: One in which we took no additional action and stood by while more people die from this disease, and another that required a temporary tightening of restrictions for certain counties but could save hundreds of lives and prevent as many as 450 hospitalizations over the next three weeks. As your Governor, I chose to save lives,” said Governor Brown.

“There is some good news. The same scientific modeling also shows that over the course of the next two-to-three weeks, based on current vaccination rates, we can get ahead of these variants. Following that trajectory, we should be able to lift restrictions statewide and return to a sense of normalcy no later than the end of June.

“We are asking for your help today. We know vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, and they are the key to fully reopening our economy and moving forward to post-pandemic life. But it will take each and everyone one of us to do our part to get there. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please do so now — there are many available appointments statewide.”

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