Brown to reveal counties allowed to enter Phase I of reopening plan

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday will announce the counties that can begin Phase I of the state’s reopening plan May 15th.

She’ll be joined by representatives from Oregon Health Authority during the 10 a.m. news conference in Salem.

Brown said last week that Phase I of the state’s reopening would begin in counties that meet some strict criteria on the number of cases of COVID, testing capabilities, tracing efforts, and more:

Declining prevalence of COVID-19: Percentage of hospital admissions must be less than the historic average of the flu for this time of year.
Minimum testing regimen: The county must be able to administer tests at a rate of 30 per 10,000 people per week.
Contact tracing system: Counties must have a minimum of 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 people.
Isolation Facilities: Counties must have hotel rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
Finalized Statewide Sector Guidelines: We must adhere to Oregon Health authority guidelines.
Sufficient Healthcare Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must be able to accommodate a 20% increase in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Sufficient PPE Supply: Hospitals must have at least a 30 day PPE supply at all times.

Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties all submitted detailed applications to be included in the Phase I reopening. Statewide, 33 of 36 counties have applied to begin Phase I.

Local health officials have said the region has met many of those criteria or will be able in the coming weeks.

“As part of that process, St. Charles experts have actively worked with officials in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties to provide important data as they develop their reopening plans,” said St. Charles President/CEO Joe Sluka. “A county’s eligibility to reopen is in part contingent upon the local health system’s capacity to handle another surge in patients. Thanks to your efforts to “flatten the curve,” which bought us time to expand our acute bed capacity, stockpile more personal protective gear and provide more testing, we can confidently say we’re prepared to take care of our community.”

Patrick Allen, director of Oregon Health Authority, said last week he believed a “majority of Oregon counties” would be able to meet those metrics by the end of this week.

Currently, there are 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Deschutes County, 24 in Jefferson County and just one case in Crook County.

In Deschutes County, 73 of the COVID patients have recovered, according to health officials.

Brown on Thursday also plans to talk about expanded child care options for all Oregonians.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Oregon child care providers have continued to operate by applying with the Early Learning Division to provide emergency child care––with priority given to the families of first responders, emergency workers, health care professionals, and other essential personnel working outside the home.

Beginning May 15, emergency child care will be expanded with new health and safety guidelines, as well as greater flexibility so that families returning to work under Oregon’s phased reopening can also have access to child care options.

The new guidance also applies to other early learning programs, such as respite care and kindergarten transition.

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