Decision comes day after Crook County, 25 other counties' approval
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Kate Brown on Friday approved the Phase 2 reopening plans, effective Saturday, for Deschutes and Jefferson counties, after health officials further reviewed case numbers and contact tracing.
The decision came one day after Brown announced 26 other counties, including Crook County, had won Phase 2 approval.
The governor said Thursday that Phase 2 reopening requests from Deschutes, Jefferson and Umatilla counties were still under review.
On Friday, she outlined why all three are now able to enter Phase 2 on Saturday:
State health officials worked with local public health officials to conduct an additional level of review of Deschutes, Jefferson and Umatilla County data to ensure they met the prerequisites and are successfully tracing and isolating new cases.
In Deschutes County, the new COVID-19 cases were traced to a known outbreak or were associated with out-of-state travel.
Jefferson County started with a comparatively low number of cases. Public health officials have now made contact with 100 percent of all new cases. Jefferson County public health officials are also working closely with tribal health officials at Warm Springs to respond in the county (46 of the 55 cases reported by Jefferson County have been on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation).
Umatilla County had seen an increase from a comparatively low baseline. Public health officials have made timely contact with all new cases. The public health investigation has not shown ongoing community spread as the source of the cases. Public health officials continue to trace new cases, in collaboration with their counterparts in Washington.
By entering Phase 2, all three Central Oregon counties will be able to continue with the reopening process, following updated health and safety guidance:
- Gathering limits will be raised to 50 people indoors, and 100 people outdoors.
- Indoor and outdoor venues, including churches, faith-based organizations, and theaters, with six feet of physical distancing and other measures in place, can reach a COVID-19 occupancy limit of up to 250 people.
- Offices can begin reopening and employees can return to workplaces with physical distancing and other measures in place, although remote work is still strongly recommended whenever possible.
- Increased travel is allowed throughout Oregon, though staying local is still recommended to prevent overloading county health systems.
- Restaurants and bars will have curfews extended to midnight.
- Pools and sports courts will be allowed to reopen under new guidance.
- Indoor and outdoor activities such as bowling, batting cages, and mini golf, will be allowed to reopen under guidance.
- Recreational sports can resume in a limited form, under strict physical distancing guidance.
“Approval for Phase 2 is a positive indicator of our collective efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Deschutes County,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson. “We heard during the state’s press conference on Wednesday that our state has stabilized and Phase I reopening has not led to a resurgence in cases.
"While moving into Phase 2 is good news, we still need our community to continue being smart about maintaining physical distance, practicing good hygiene and wearing masks so that we can keep our communities healthy and help Central Oregon’s businesses stay open,” Henderson added.
Jefferson County Commission Chair Kelly Simmelink got a similar letter from the governor, saying that county also can enter Phase 2 on Saturday.
Counties approved to enter Phase 2 must continue to meet Phase 1 metrics, including:
- Declining disease prevalence
- Having an adequate number of contact tracers (trained and available), including people reflective of the communities they serve
- Establishing and maintaining adequate testing, isolation and quarantine facilities, sufficient hospital surge capacity, and sufficient personal protective equipment supply
The state is also monitoring the following public health indicators to inform recommendations on reopening:
- Counties need to demonstrate that they are able to trace new cases within 24 hours
- As counties see new cases, they must be able to identify where they are coming from at least 70% of the time
- Counties cannot be experiencing a significant increase in cases
Additional information about the State’s Phase 2 guidance is available at coronavirus.oregon.gov.
Information for Deschutes County businesses and organizations looking to reopen safely is available at www.deschutes.org/reopening.