Multnomah County urges public to wear masks indoors amid BA.2 wave

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising, Multnomah County health officials on Wednesday strongly urged the public to wear masks indoors until the numbers drop again.

“This is not a mandate but we are asking everyone to put their masks back on for a few weeks as they go to school, work and other indoor events,” said Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines.

She said the goal is to minimize the spread of illness “so that people stay well and can attend all the spring events they have planned.”

On Tuesday, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) warned that a new COVID wave is underway, with new cases and hospitalizations both surging from their post-omicron low points in the past six weeks. OHA said the wave is largely fueled by the BA.2 version of the omicron variant.

The seven-day average for new cases statewide was 1,281 as of Wednesday, up from a low point of 229 in late March. Hospitalizations reached a low point of 84 on April 7, but have more than doubled to 201 in the past few weeks.

In Multnomah County alone, the seven-day case average was 350 cases per day.

In a new release, the Multnomah County Health Department said people who are at particularly high risk may want to avoid crowded indoor settings for the next few weeks.

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