Tigard keeps close eye on latest surge of COVID cases

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County Health Department hosting mobile vaccination clinics

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic it feels a bit like Groundhog Day anymore.

Just a few weeks after the State of Oregon lifted its longstanding business restrictions, mask mandate and other safety measures on June 30, rapidly rising case rates led the Oregon Health Authority to issue a new recommendation on July 27 urging universal mask use in public indoor settings.

The move came the same day as the number of reported COVID cases in Oregon rose above 1,000 for the first time since April. 

Dr. Dean Sidelinger

“Today’s reported sharp rise in cases and hospitalizations in Oregon are sobering reminders that the pandemic is not over, especially for Oregonians who remain unvaccinated,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist and state health officer. “The highly contagious Delta variant has increased tenfold in the past two weeks in Oregon, and it is now estimated to be associated with 80% of the new cases in Oregon. The use of face masks provides significant protection for individuals who are unvaccinated as well as an additional level protection from a small but known risk of infection by the virus for persons who have already been vaccinated.”

In Tigard, Mayor Jason Snider said the city remains under an emergency order passed last spring and renewed multiple times that gives the Mayor and City Council authority to enact public health and safety measures should circumstances require it. He said that the city has chosen to continue this policy at least through the end of September because it gives them more leeway to provide economic aid to businesses and residents affected by the pandemic.

Mayor Jason Snider

“We need to continue providing that assistance until all the impacts are concluded from our perspective,” Snider said. “When we extended it the last time, we thought it might be the last extension, but that may be different now.” 

He added that the city’s leadership team is meeting regularly to review the situation and will continue to follow guidance put forth by the Washington County Department of Health and Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority. 

“The city is not the primary agency responsible for public health,” he said. “We’re always going to follow the guidance of Washington County Public Health and the OHA and the CDC (Center for Disease Control). We’ll follow their direction and guidelines very closely.”  

Washington County Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Mary Sawyers said county health officials are watching the situation closely in case further action is needed beyond recommendations. 

“The key message Is not necessarily about the masks, the key message is, people who are unvaccinated should get vaccinated,” Sawyers said. “We are up around almost 76 percent in Washington County, but that leaves 24 to 25 percent of the population of adults who haven’t been vaccinated and 12 and under can’t get vaccinated.” 

For local businesses, the resurgence of COVID cases across the state and the new state masking recommendation is yet another reminder that the pandemic remains far from over. 

The Broadway Rose Theater, for example, is in the midst of a large expansion of its facilities and only started holding in-person performances again last month. 

“We are aware and watching, and we are also have been watching the news in England and seeing that rates increased there but they went through it quickly,” said Marketing Director Alan Anderson. “So, I’m hopeful that the same will be said for the United States. We’ll adhere to any mandates and are yet cautiously optimistic that in October we’ll be able to continue to perform our next show with few mandates in place.” 

To find a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic near you, visit www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/CommunicableDiseases/COVID-19/vaccine.cfm.

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