By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
With just one confirmed case of COVID-19, Crook County may be in the best position to reopen first, compared to Deschutes and Jefferson Counties.
“That case is fully recovered and we continue to test. We have several hundred people who have been tested over this past month. With the criteria of testing 30 people per 10,000 population each week, we’ll be able to meet that criteria,” said Vicky Ryan, Crook County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
Counties and their regions must satisfy seven criteria for the governor to consider easing stay at home restrictions including:
- a declining number of positive tests … or fewer than five cases;
- a testing regimen
- the ability to trace 95% of all new cases within 24 hours
- sufficient healthcare capacity to accommodate a 20% increase in COVID hospitalizations
- at least a 14 day supply of PPE at small, rural hospitals
Ryan says Crook County can meet all the standards by working closely with St. Charles.
“They get all their personal protective equipment out of the Bend cache that they have supplying all four hospitals,” she said. “We can comply with the requirement to support our first responders which is EMS, fire, police, sheriff and the jail with PPE out of a cache we have been able to acquire here at the county level.”
Ryan says County Commissioners intend to submit a plan by the end of this week showing that it meets all seven of the governor’s requirements for a phased reopening.
“It will be a relief for the county because there’s a lot of business that need to reopen in order to sustain their livelihood.
By reopening, that means we’ll be able to allow more people out. We are starting to see a lot of anxiety in the community with people being cooped up for so long, especially since we only have one case,” Ryan said. “Whether or not our cases will increase is yet to be seen. That’s all part of the criteria. We have to be able to support contact tracing for any new cases that we have and have enough staff on hand to do that.”
The governor could issue a decision on Crook County’s request to begin reopening by May 15th.
How much of a reopening and how many restrictions might be relaxed are questions that can’t be answered until then.