Pandemic reaches ‘watershed’ moment, with end of mask mandate

While the mask mandate is lifting, testing for Covid will still be available in Malheur County (The Enterprise/FILE)

Oregon is shifting its strategy to deal with the coronavirus, with the lifting of most mask mandates. 

At midnight on Friday, masks will no longer be required in schools and public places in Oregon, Washington and California.

“We can close the emergency phase of Oregon’s Covid response,” Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority said during a news conference on Friday. “That’s a watershed moment in this pandemic.”

The move comes amid a dramatic decline in cases and hospitalizations thanks in part to a high vaccination rate among Oregonians and widespread compliance with Oregon’s mask requirements, he said.

To date, more than 6,850 people in Oregon have . . .