- The Pacific Northwest is battling a heatwave. Portland recorded its hottest-ever day on Sunday.
- Balancing the threat of heat and COVID-19, capacity limits were dropped at pools, theaters, and malls.
- Officials said that no one would be turned away from a cooling center due to crowding issues.
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The Oregon Health Authority on Friday suspended capacity limits at swimming pools, movie theaters, and shopping malls, as the threat of illness due to record heat began to outweigh the risks of spreading the coronavirus, KATU reported.
The Pacific Northwest is in the grips of a grueling heatwave, with Portland, Oregon, registering its hottest-ever day on Sunday with a high of 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
A particular challenge of the heatwave is ensuring that citizens have access to air conditioning and pools to cool down, while also protecting them from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“In many ways, we’ve talked a lot with the health department about this prioritization, so first and foremost, we want to get people out of this extreme heat,” Chris Voss, Multnomah County’s director of emergency management, told KATU.
In addition to capacity limits being dropped at pools, theaters, and malls, health officials in several counties said that no one would be turned away from a cooling center because of space restrictions, KATU reported.
Oregon’s vaccination rates and low COVID-19 case counts could be why officials prioritized keeping people cool this weekend.
On Friday, Gov. Kate Brown said Oregon would reopen no later than June 30, and said the state was 35,000 shots away from vaccinating 70% of the adult population, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
On Sunday, the state announced 138 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths, The Oregonian reported.