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Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that Oregon residents will be required to wear face coverings inside public indoor spaces, warning that hospitals in her state could be overwhelmed if the spread of coronavirus doesn’t slow.

“From the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening comes with the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond our health systems’ capacity to test, trace, and isolate them,” Brown said in a statement.

“Over the last month, we have seen the disease spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties.”

MANY AMERICANS, ESPECIALLY REPUBLICANS, SAY CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK EXAGERRATED, POLL FINDS 

“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” the Democratic governor continued. “I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public.”

Face masks are already required in eight counties, but will now be required in indoor public spaces statewide beginning July 1.

She urged residents to keep Fourth of July celebrations “small and local,” citing a spike in coronavirus which followed Memorial Day celebrations.

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Oregon saw 247 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 8,341 cases. No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the state’s death count at 202.

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US signs order for first West Coast gas-export terminal

The Trump administration on Monday formally authorized exports from a proposed Oregon natural-gas terminal, the first on the U.S. West Coast.

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette signed the order for the proposed Jordan Cove liquid natural gas terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon. Monday’s approval for the project, which would target markets in Asia, is part of an administration push to promote U.S. oil and gas production and export despite mounting scientific warnings about fossil fuels damaging the climate.

The project “encapsulates what the Trump administration has been working hard on for the past three years – providing reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world,” Brouillette said in a statement.

Owned by Canada’s Pembina Pipeline Corp., the terminal would have federal authority to export up to 1.08 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, from both the United States and Canada.

Regulator and public concern about expected harm from the terminal and its 230-mile (370-kilometer) feeder pipeline in southern Oregon to threatened wildlife species and to landowners had slowed the project previously.

The administration’s export authorization for the Oregon project comes as legal challenges and slumping consumer energy demand amid the coronavirus pandemic and recession block some of the country’s most prominent oil and gas pipeline projects.

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