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Bend’s summer tourism on the rise, which could lead to more COVID-19 cases

Hotels, airports see increases in visitors, as cases rise as well

(Update: Adding Deschutes County Public Health comment)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The summer months are a popular time of the year for many tourists to visit Bend, but during a pandemic, it could increase the spread of COVID-19. And many visitors are aware of the sensitive situation, and the tricky tradeoffs.

“I completely understand," Laura Nativo, a tourist visiting from California, said Tuesday. "I also come from a tourist-y destination. I live in Malibu. and our beaches have been jam-packed.

"For me, it was, I want to get out and be somewhere safe, but I do think there’s a way for people to be responsible. Whether you’re a resident or tourist, by doing things like wearing a mask or constantly sanitizing your hands, being respectful and mindful of other people’s space, I think we can all cooperate as a community to protect each other's health.”

At least one hotel in Bend has been seeing an increase in business since the phased reopening got underway.

“I wasn’t sure we would reach that occupancy, just because of the pandemic and what’s been happening," said Josh Bressman, the general manager of My Place Hotel. "Right now, though, we are seeing 45-70% occupancy, which is quite higher than it’s been in the past couple of months.”  

Bressman also said he expects to be sold out this holiday weekend.

The Redmond Airport is also expecting an increase in travelers this weekend.

“There’s going to be an uptick, when you compare it to what we’ve seen during the pandemic," said Airport Director Zachary Bass.

Teresa Hanula, who is visiting from Washington D.C., said she come to Bend to enjoy "hiking, running and some biking." Hanula said she understands the possible frustration of residents who feel tourists could bring COVID-19 into the city, but also said tourists can be important to a city's economy.

“If you don’t have tourists at all, then all the businesses are going to start going under, especially approaching tourist season,” Hanula said.

Deschutes County has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases recently, including a daily record of 10 new cases on Tuesday.

Heather Kaisner of Deschutes County Public Health noted that the county only receives positive case reports of its own residents, as does each county, but said the picture of where people contracted the virus "has been a mixture."

"Some of the recent cases have been close contacts of known cases that we have been monitoring, or the result of private social gatherings/clusters with a known case," Kasner told NewsChannel 21. "Some have (involved) recent travel, and some have been sporadic/community spread, where we have been unable to trace it back to a known case or cluster."

Bend / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Top Stories

Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

Comments

24 Comments

  1. Yeah, real great job at contact tracing City of Bend! What highschoolers did you hire to track down these folks? Having reliable contact tracers is part of the reopening criteria. How’s that going?

    1. just look at the model they laid out for us (china) soon every penny we make will be traced and taxed and every move we make will be monitored. they been working on this for over 30 yrs and the new world order is just about in place.

    1. What rules do you want? How far do we go with “rules”? Maybe they can’t show up with less than 5 people per car? Can only use the bathroom from noon to 2? Maybe tell them they can’t go on vacation at all? – wait – that is where our governor is headed again isn’t it…..

  2. Here is the problem: city council is allowing a vacation rentals with no rules. Back to backs should not be allowed!!! They are disgusting! There is not enough time to allow for proper cleaning and ensuring all items are be laundered. All vacation rental cleaning companies do not wash comforters, nor the 2nd blanket only sheets. Decorative pillows are not washed. The amount of time between the exit of the Tenant and the time when cleaning companies have to go is not safe to allow proper ventilation. Shame on the city for allowing back to backs and shame on vacation rental companies for booking back to backs! Again do not allow them!

    1. I empathize with your concern, but please base your proposals on facts.
      Here is an excellent source for Aerosol and Surface Stability of Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2, published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
      Most easily discerned (this is a scientific study, not written at the reading level used for public consumption)is that Coronavirus maximum viability in the air (aerosolized) is 3 hours. The illustration “Figure 1” is easier to understand than the commentary.
      https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmc2004973

    2. The city should have nothing to do with any of this, regulatory or otherwise. The rest of your comment is personal perception – except – how long between rentals is enough?

  3. “A positive test result shows you might have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.”

    You read that right and straight from the CDC website. The common cold virus can trigger a positive covid-19 test.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html?fbclid=IwAR0CGMjNPnQPoydpTNzeXFvo8j-BlR33LmjUt8S9WUTamynOVPdlLsaLwoA

    Ya’ll can quit the fear mongering.

    1. That’s the ANTIBODY test, not the test to confirm presence of the coronavirus. The news has been full of reports on how the emergency order that allowed release of antibody tests without full testing led to a lot of bad tests on the market.

  4. Yep, they’re here. It’s too bad that so many of them have come here with the attitude that CO is a “safe place” and they’re not going to spoil their vacation by having to wear masks or social distance.

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