PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Multnomah County health officials in Portland, Oregon, are asking people to wear masks indoors until new COVID-19 counts and hospitalizations start to decline.
Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said it is not a mandate but a request for everyone to put their masks back on for a few weeks as they go to school, work and other indoor events, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Officials strongly recommend people wear masks in schools.
County officials have not set a case or hospitalization threshold for when they would consider mandating masks, a spokesperson for the health department said.
Multnomah County has been averaging about 350 new cases a day, up from less than 100 in early April.
The current COVID-19 wave is expected to peak in about a month, according to an Oregon Health & Science University forecast.
Nearby Clackamas and Washington counties have not recommended universal indoor masking. Both are also the “medium” COVID-19 risk category and have seen the same or higher case rates over the last week as Multnomah County.
Multnomah County officials also suggested people at high risk of severe COVID-19 consider avoiding crowded indoor settings for the next few weeks.