Oregon pauses reopening as case count grows in parts of Northwest

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday gave the coronavirus reopening what she called a “statewide yellow light.”

"The noticeable increase in COVID-19 infections in Oregon over the past week is certainly cause for concern," Brown said.

State officials said on Thursday, Oregon recorded its highest count in new cases, and the percentage of positive tests is up more than 50%.

"I am putting all, all county reopening applications on hold for seven days," Brown said.

Some Washington counties, especially east of the mountains, are also seeing an increase as the economy slowly reopens.

"We've been doing a pretty good job here in Western Washington," said Dr. Keith Jerome, the head of virology division at UW Medicine. "But other parts of the state for sure have seen some substantial increases."

Jerome said many new cases seem to be coming from specific workplaces or gatherings.

As he watches the police brutality protests, Jerome said most demonstrators seem to be wearing masks and distancing as much as possible.

He said being outdoors helps limit transmission.

On average, Jerome said people start showing symptoms five to seven days after they're exposed.

"Realistically we ought to start seeing this, we ought to start seeing it now and we're not seeing a huge increase in Western Washington and that might mean we're going to get by, get through this period without a lot of transmission due to the protests, but also we know people can go out two weeks before they show symptoms," Jerome said.

He said many protesters are now getting tested for COVID-19.

Tests are now so widely available, on Thursday the UW lab processed 4,500 tests, the most yet.