SALEM

The Oregon Health Authority announced eight new COVID-19 deaths and 266 new cases as it put in place stricter requirements for face coverings and encouraged people to choose masks over face shields.

New state requirements and recommendations for face coverings expand when and where people must wear masks, to include all workplaces, even if workers can maintain a social distance.

People must also now wear masks in outdoor markets, street fairs and both private and public universities.

The health authority is now recommending that people choose masks over face shields because shields don’t contain air escaping from the sides or below.

Monday’s COVID-19 case count was below recent rolling averages, which have exceeded 300 new cases per day since Oct. 7. But the drop is unlikely to reflect a trend – case counts on Mondays are traditionally low and the Oregon Health Authority predicts ever-increasing infection numbers, at least into early November, if transmission rates don’t go down. Oregon last week also recorded a high test positivity rate, at 5.8%, on 28,960 tests, according to preliminary data.

The prevalence of infections: State officials had not disclosed detailed data since Friday.

Since then, officials reported 810 new confirmed infections out of 13,271 people tested, equaling a 6.1% positivity rate.

Who’s in the hospital: The state Monday reported 124 Oregonians with confirmed coronavirus infections are currently in the hospital. Oregon remains well below its capacity, with hundreds of hospital beds and ventilators available.

Since it began: Oregon has reported 39,794 confirmed or presumed infections and 627 deaths, among the lowest totals in the nation. To date, 786,496 Oregonians have been tested.

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