FILE - Oregon Face Mask

A cloth face mask in the Oregon outdoors.

(The Center Square) — Pandemic-related reports of alleged health violations in Oregon workplaces have skyrocketed, according to data from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA).

Enforcing the state's health protocol falls to a range of different agencies. Oregon OSHA handles workplace complaints of safety infractions. 

Since the pandemic began in March, OHSA reports having received about 11,600 complaints related to workplace safety protocol compared to around 2,000 complaints in an average year. At least 32 of those complaints resulted in citations.

Most complaints OSHA received happened the first two weeks after Gov. Kate Brown announced new COVID-19 restrictions. The last significant increase in complaints were filed around the 4th of July holiday.

The Oregon Liquor Control Board also enforces COVID-19 restrictions at workplaces which hold a state liquor license. The board reported it has seen compliance from most Oregon bars, save for some exceptions along the state's central coast.

As cold, wet weather hits the Pacific Northwest, more Oregonians will be headed indoors for work and leisure, which could pose even further transmission risks.

According to the state's weekly COVID-19 data, the state has been hovering around a 6% positivity rate for weeks now. At least six counties have seen positivity rates in the double digits just in the past week.

Those rates place the vast majority of county school districts ineligible for reopening under Brown's health metrics, although Brown has alluded to taking a second look at the criteria.

Around 40% of Oregonians are concerned about COVID-19 and nearly half as many are very worried about contracting the virus themselves, according to an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) survey conducted DHM Research and Lara Media.

Of the more than 1,000 Oregonians surveyed, members of the Latino community were most concerned about contracting COVID-19, with 43% saying they could not afford to stop working if they did become ill.

The survey found that while 74% of respondents reported washing their hands frequently and 84% reported wearing a face mask indoors in public, nearly half of them said they attended a small social gathering of several friends or family members in the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, the OHA reported 321 new COVID-19 cases and six more deaths from virus in the state. The news puts the state’s total case count at 37,780 and the death toll at 605.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.