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Counties revising draft plans to reopen economy under new state requirements

Must prove COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the decline, more

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ )-- Oregon counties are still working to reopen businesses under the latest state guidelines.

Oregon counties created a drafted framework for Gov. Kate Brown to consider reopening the state, but the governor incorporated new regional requirements, forcing counties to revise their plans.

Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson said Tuesday the governor is requiring counties to submit a plan that now coincides with the other counties in the region. Deschutes County is Region 7, which also includes Jefferson, Crook, Wheeler, Grant, Klamath, Lake, and Harney.

Now, he said, counties must prove there is a declining number of COVID-19 cases that require hospitalization. The counties must also show that their COVID-19 illnesses are less than the historic average of flu cases seen at this time of year. There must also be a certain number of tests available, and each county must have a contact tracing strategy in place.

Commissioners say these new requirements are prolonging the process of reopening Oregon.

"All of these standards that we are meeting are set by the governors office," Henderson said. "The governor could do these things herself or from the state of Oregon by just opening up and saying, 'Here's the rules,' but we're having to prove up a lot of things. It involves us gathering information, gathering supplies, and that sort of thing, so we're working on that plan still."

Henderson said even after submitting the plan, the governor will have to review and approve the draft. He does not expect Central Oregon counties to reopen by May 15.

Deschutes County commissioners are meeting Wednesday to finalize their new draft. Crook County administrators are currently working with their county health department and expect their draft to be completed by Thursday. Jefferson County has crafted a similar, detailed draftplan.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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