Skip to Content

Deschutes County still working on framework for reopening plan

(Update: No decision on quarantine shelters; adding video comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County commissioners said at a meeting Wednesday they need more time to revise and add more information to their draft framework plan for reopening the county. 

The draft plan currently says Deschutes County purchased 30 additional ventilators. But Commissioner Patti Adair said ventilators are back-ordered and may take longer than planned to arrive.

The board also considered an emergency order proposed by the Deschutes County Emergency Operations Center regarding the need for finding non-congregate housing and shelter for people who are homeless and other high-risk populations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The order, if approved, would authorize the use of various lodging-type facilities within Deschutes County as quarantine and isolation shelters until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Phil Henderson compared it to "running a hotel or motel," and all three commissioners said they would need more time to think about the impact housing multiple high-risk individuals in one space could have.

During the meeting, doctors raised some concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and how a possible surge would affect smaller health care facilities.

Dr. Eric Wattenburg, who owns Your Care Urgent Care in Redmond, said in the event of a surge in cases, he's worried St. Charles Bend would turn away patients showing symptoms, leaving outpatient clinics and smaller medical facilities to deal with an influx in patients.

“If we do not allow COVID to circulate as it’s going to do, as any viral infection does, if we artificially suppress that circulation, we may very well see that spike in the winter or the fall," Wattenburg said.

He said it's important to compare the usage of PPE, the shortage, and the number of cases per day in order to meet the "gating" criteria to enter phase one of the reopening framework plan.

"One or two cases a day in Deschutes County seems like a spike, because we've only had about 75 cases," Wattenburg said.

The framework plan is modeled after Gov. Kate Brown's statewide plan. It says counties must show a drop in cases and declining numbers of people with symptoms before moving into the first phase.

Phase one would include reopening some retail and child care services. Reopening businesses is included in all three phases of the draft plan.

Commissioners said they still need more time to decide which type of businesses could fall into those three phases.

For example, dine-in restaurants and personal services, like hair salons, would be looked at differently.

Katy Brooks, the Bend Chamber CEO, said she will continue to gather input from different businesses in an effort to help add to a more comprehensive draft plan.

“There's a lot of pushback on it," Brooks said. "What's going to be the trick is to identify what is pushback just because it’s hard and what is the pushback because it’s impossible? That’s what we’re going to work through right now.”

You can view the full board of commissioners meeting and the full draft plan at the Deschutes County website.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content