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Oregon Universities The Latest To Receive COVID-19 Guidance

<p>There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.</p>

There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

UPDATE (7:19 p.m. PT) — Oregon officials announced guidance Friday for Oregon universities on how to operate safely during the ongoing pandemic. For months, colleges and universities across the state have gone online. But higher education officials don’t expect that approach this fall. 

Executive director of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission Ben Cannon acknowledged that running a residential college campus during the pandemic will be difficult.

“It’s an extraordinarily challenging balancing act, there’s no question," Cannon said. "These are settings, like other communal settings that introduce greater risk.”

At the same time, Cannon notes that college campuses are not as self-contained as public schools, or other communal settings.

"They don't have single- or limited-entry and -exit points in most cases. And so even the whole question of screening and assessment is trickier in a sort of community-embedded setting, in a permeable setting like a college campus," Cannon said.

Cannon said attending classes and living on a college campus will not look like it did before the pandemic. Universities won’t be able to pack as many students into classrooms, and they may have to reserve dorm rooms in case students get the virus and have to be isolated. 

There will be some regional differences, between Portland State University in Multnomah County, which is experiencing the tightest restrictions in the state, for instance, and Southern Oregon University in Jackson County, where rules are looser. For instance, the limits on gathering size will have an effect on how many students and staff are able to be in a single area, such as a classroom. The state's new guidance applies to all degree-granting institutions in Oregon: public and private colleges and universities, and community colleges.

More than 140 new known coronavirus cases in Oregon

The Oregon Health Authority reported 142 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state Friday.

The state’s total number of known positive and presumptive cases is 5,377.

The bulk of these new cases continue to mostly stem from the Portland metro area with 36 cases in Multnomah County and 21 cases in Washington County. Marion County also had a large number of cases Friday — 29.

Officials announced two new coronavirus-related deaths. In Oregon, 173 people are known to have died from the disease.

OHA details the new deaths as:

A 96-year-old man in Washington County who tested positive on May 10 and died on June 11 in his residence. He did not have underlying medical conditions. 

A 68-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on June 1 and died on June 10 at Adventist Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions.

Clark County cases at 630

Clark County reported eight new coronavirus cases Friday. That puts the county’s total number of known cases at 630.

To date, 28 people have died from COVID-19 in Clark County.

According to the most recently available data, Washington has 24,779 confirmed coronavirus cases. The state has seen 1,194 coronavirus-related deaths.

Oregon pauses COVID reopenings

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Thursday night said she is temporarily halting reopenings across the state, pressing “pause” for one week. 

Her decision came the same day the Oregon Health Authority announced the most new known coronavirus cases in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic, and on the eve of Multnomah County’s desired move to Phase 1. 

Of the new COVID-19 diagnoses reported Thursday, nearly a quarter were in Multnomah County. Brown approved 31 Oregon counties for Phase 1 reopening four weeks ago and allowed 26 of those counties to further open in Phase 2 last week

“This one-week pause will give our public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine if we need to adjust our approach to reopening,” Brown said in a press briefing Friday.

 

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

OPB Staff
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