Brown reaches out to counties to prepare them for Phase II reopening

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Gov. Kate Brown has reached out to Oregon counties for feedback, guidance and suggested changes to her Phase II reopening plan, which currently allows for larger gatherings and the lifting of some restrictions on travel, recreation, youth sports and more.

Most of the state’s counties are a couple of weeks into the required three weeks of Phase I and many are preparing to move into the next phase of reopening.

It could happen in Central Oregon as soon as June 5th.

“To enter Phase I, a county must successfully demonstrate that it meets certain public health prerequisites in order to safely reopen business and public life,” Brown said in a letter to county leaders. “Likewise, to enter Phase II, a county must again ensure that crucial public health metrics have been satisfied.”

The details of Phase II of Oregon’s reopening is still in draft form as it awaits the feedback from counties.

But it currently allows for gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors; a limited return to work, the limited opening of movie theaters, bowling alleys and some swimming pools.

It also allows for the reopening of churches.

Restaurants would be allowed to extend curfews to midnight and increase their footprints for table space with approved outdoor space.

Face coverings are required for all employees at restaurants, pubs and breweries, grocery stores, pharmacies, salons, and more. Those businesses are also strongly recommended to require face maks for all customers.

Those recommendations will remain part of Phase II.

Counties that have been in Phase I for 14 days can submit their application to enter Phase II, according to the letter. Deschutes County Commissioners plan to talk about the Phase II plan on Monday.

The requests must include information on the number of trained contact tracers available in the county and information on any big changes from the Phase I application.

Additionally, to move into Phase II, counties must meet these criteria:

  • A minimum of 95% of all new cases must be contact traced within 24 hours as reported in the state’s ORPHEUS system over the previous 7 day and 14 day time periods.
  • A minimum of 70% of new COVID-19 positive cases must be traced to an existing positive case over the previous 7 day and 14 day time periods.
  • No increase in incident cases or positivity:* a) There cannot be a five percent or greater increase in new cases in the county over the past 7 days; or b) There cannot be a significant increase in the percentage of positive cases out of total tests taken in your county over the past 7 days.

Brown said If there has been an outbreak confined within a single place of business or group home that would violate that criteria, it won’t automatically preclude the entire county from entering Phase II.

“From my point of view, it looks like we’re meeting the metrics,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone. “It boils down to contact tracing, capacity, people not in the hospitals.”

He said the number of local tests has gone up dramatically in recent weeks so, “based on the percentage of testing, we have very small numbers.”

Morgan Emerson, with Deschutes County Health, said her team was currently assessing local data for the Phase II metrics.

“We are confident that our public health team can continue to meet the requirements for contact tracing,” she said.

Deschutes County has reported 121 total cases of COVID-19 and 100 of those patients have recovered. It entered Phase I on May 15th and many local businesses opened their doors to a community eager for a night out.

Restaurants, bars, brewpubs, distilleries, salons, furniture stores, gyms and some other retail stores were part of that Phase I reopening plan assuming they could meet social distancing guidelines and new OHSA rules for reopening.

The holiday weekend saw an uptick in lodging occupancy rates and packed restaurants and bars, which has local health officials concerned about the possibility of a spike in cases emerging next week.

Barring a drastic spike, the county appears poised to move closer to “normal.”

You can read the entire draft plan for Phase II below.

Phase 2 Reopening Oregon Outline- DRAFT NOT FINAL

 

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