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  • Writer's pictureLisa Reynolds, MD

Oregon Coronavirus Update 7/1/2020. Rising cases. Mask work. Kids and COVID. We can do hard things.

Oregon Coronavirus Update


Lisa Reynolds MD

This is Lisa Reynolds, MD. Portland Pediatrician, mom and daughter. Democratic nominee for State Representative, Oregon HD36.

Today: The US and OR continue to see rising case numbers. Oregon’s Governor Brown calls for statewide masking. The case for masking (repeat). Children can get and can transmit COVID (repeat). We can do hard things (repeat).

Coronavirus: The numbers

  • WORLDWIDE: 10.4 million confirmed cases, 510,000 deaths (100,000 new cases/day)

  • US: 2.6m confirmed cases, 127,000 deaths ( 48,000 new cases/day, an 80% increase over the past two weeks)

  • OREGON: 8600 confirmed cases, 201 deaths (last day: 181 new cases, 3 new deaths)

US cases are rising

You have probably seen this graph. US cases are rising while other parts of the world are successfully keeping COVID at bay. Why is this? Basic public health measures are not being routinely followed: social distancing + masking + handwashing. Re-openings are bringing unmasked people close together. In these settings, one contagious person can infect many others. This is called a “superspreader” event.

Furthermore, widespread testing, isolating those with COVID, tracing contacts of a COVID case, and quarantining those contacts will all go a long way to slow the spread of COVID.

This was preventable.

Oregon Cases are Rising (chart from July 1 New York Times)

(Reasons? See above.)

Oregon Measures: Statewide masking requirement!

Starting today, Governor Brown is requiring masking for Oregonians older than 12 years old in public spaces where social distancing (6 feet) is not possible. YAY! While I applaud this, I would call for stronger measures on masking, including:

  • Required masking for all Oregonians older than 2 years old. Current orders “recommend” masking for Oregonians 2-12 years old. (This recommendation gets lost in the announcement for required masking for older than 12 years old.) We know kids can get and transmit COVID (see below). We know masking is safe in kids older than 2 years old (though I would recommend kids 2-8 years old be supervised while masked). The CDC recommends masking for kids older than 2. In my office, kids are just fine with wearing a mask.

  • Required Masking in outdoor spaces when social distancing (6 feet) is not possible. While outdoor spaces are safer than indoor spaces, one can transmit or catch COVID in close proximity indoors or outdoors. WA and CA require statewide masking indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

  • Penalties for not masking. This mandate needs to have some “teeth” in order to be effective.

I’ve said it before, and the evidence has only increased, that we are FORTUNATE that masking works to slow the spread of COVID. We must require masking of all Oregonians (indeed, of all Americans) to lower COVID cases, which will save lives and allow for Oregon to continue to reopen safely. (I’ll repeat my wish that the federal government send 10 reusable masks to every American.)

Oregon: Young people and COVID. And School. And Masks

Chart from Oregon Health Authority Website 7/1/2020

An Oregonian article on 7/1 explains that COVID cases in Oregon are rising fastest in 0-10 year olds. There is also a dramatic increase of COVID cases in the 10-19 year olds. (And of course 20-29 year olds.) One daycare outbreak has been reported in a Lake Oswego Kindercare (8 children + 12 staffers have tested positive for COVID). OHA is not reporting other daycare outbreaks and cites privacy for not reporting.

This is all on the backdrop of a “lore” that kids cannot get nor can they transmit COVID. There are some schools that have opened successfully without seeing a rise in cases. Israel, on the other hand, saw a spike in cases in students, staff and families after reopening schools in May, prompting school shuttering. Suffice it to say, that it is simply an “uninvestigated notion” that kids cannot get and cannot spread COVID (article). This has implications for school opening in the fall.

The Oregon Department of Education’s plan for reopening schools does not have a masking requirement for students, but it does call for social distancing (35 ft2 of space per student), and masking for staff when social distancing is not possible. Governor Brown’s statewide masking mandate would apply to students over 12 (roughly 6th grade and older).

Oregon: Testing and Tracing (we are falling behind)

I continue to applaud the plans Governor Brown put forward in May for reopening. They are grounded in basic public health practices. The problem? We are not following the plan. (Oregonian OpEd).

  • Reopened Mult County even though it had rising numbers of hospitalizations

  • Mult County is not meeting its tracing requirements MANPOWER

    • requirement 15 tracers /100K residents (half what most PH folks recommend): 122 tracers

      • actual: 34 full time, 19 part time, 10 “other”

  • Other counties are not meeting tracing requirements OUTREACH

    • requirements: reach out to 95% COVID+ within 24 hours

      • Lincoln County (Pacific Seafood outbreak): 70% COVID + contacted within 24 hours in the first week, 39% in second week and Lincoln County had TWICE the recommended number of tracers.

  • Counties are not meeting community spread requirements: RESULTS

    • requirement: we can trace 70% of COVID+ to a source

      • Mult County: could only identify source in 49%. Full blown community spread. Tracing is no longer sufficient to contain COVID.


We can and we must do better to slow the spread of COVID. This is important to keep our economy open, to open schools in September and to save lives. We know what it takes. And we can do hard things.

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This website is written by Lisa Reynolds, MD, Portland, Oregon Pediatrician on the front lines of the coronavirus epidemic. Mom and daughter. Candidate for Oregon HD36.

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