Oregon COVID-19 Update: 59 new cases; 1 new death

The Oregon Health Authority reported one new death from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll up to 154.

The OHA reported 59 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the state total to 4,302.

The new confirmed and presumptive cases reported today are in the following counties: Clackamas (5), Deschutes (2), Jackson (1), Jefferson (11), Josephine (1), Lane (4), Lincoln (3), Linn (2), Marion (13), Morrow (1), Multnomah (6), Polk (2), Umatilla (4), Washington (4).

In Deschutes County, health officials reported a jump of six cases since Friday bringing the total to 127; 102 of those patients have recovered. Jefferson County’s new cases bring its total to 44. Crook County has reported six cases.

More than 127,300 have tested negative for COVID-19.



▶️ Central Oregon counties look to move into phase 2 of reopening

After nearly three weeks in phase one of reopening, Central Oregon county leaders want to shift into phase two this week.

Commissioners from Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties are submitting letters to the governor, saying the region is prepared to enter the next phase on Friday following the required 21 days in phase one.

Morgan Emerson, with Deschutes County Public Health, explained to commissioners today the county meets the state’s seven guidelines for advancement, including training up more contact tracers and tracking new cases quickly.

“We’re meeting this at 100%,” Emerson said. “And we have 12 DCHS staff members that are trained to be able to do contact tracing as well as the three additional hires.”

Based on the draft plan released by Gov. Kate Brown Friday, phase two would allow theaters, churches and other venues to reopen with limitations.

The maximum amount of people allowed for indoor gatherings could expand to 50 people and outdoor gatherings could expand to 100 people.

Juniper Swim & Fitness Center to open June 8; pool, hot tub remain closed

The Bend Park and Recreation District will reopen the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center on Monday, June 8.

Fitness classes and activities will require advanced reservations to participate in all activities on the “dry side” of the recreation center.

The fitness center, FIT studio, group exercise rooms and outdoor exercise spaces will be open.  Patrons can register online beginning at 8:00 a.m. June 4, at www.bendparksandrec.org/juniperreservations.

The pools, hot tub, sauna, steam room and showers will remain closed due to the Governor’s Office and Oregon Health Authority restrictions.

After the facility reopens, the online system can accept reservations up to seven days in advance for a day and time in the facility. Registration will remain open up until 15 minutes before the time of the scheduled activity for any available openings.

“Advanced registration is a new process at Juniper, but it ensures that we remain within the capacity limitations required by Oregon Health Authority to maintain a safe and healthy environment,” said Sue Glenn, recreation services manager. “A reservation makes the check-in process easy, reserves a space in a class or for self-directed exercise, and eliminates waiting in line for an opening.”

Fitness center sessions will be available in 80-minute increments throughout the day with a 10-minute cleaning/preparation transition time between sessions. Group exercise class schedules will be posted for individual class registration.

All spaces have been evaluated to determine their occupancy while comfortably maintaining adequate physical distancing. Fitness Center equipment has been rearranged to provide adequate spacing. Group exercise rooms have floor markings to designate individual spaces and outdoor spaces will be used for some activities and classes. One-way traffic flow patterns have been established to minimize congestion and close contact.

New cleaning procedures include thorough cleaning nightly, as well as extensive efforts during open hours. Specifically, the facility will be closed for one hour on longer days to complete a mid-day cleaning, and air circulation systems have been re-programmed to circulate 100% outside air during all hours of operations.

Hours will be:

Monday to Thursday: 5:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Saturday: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

A per-visit fee will be charged at the time of registration to reserve a spot. These fees are lower than regular drop-in rates and similar to the 10-visit pass rate. Payment is non-refundable.  A credit will be provided if a reservation is cancelled in advance due to a health condition.

Deschutes National Forest to open some campgrounds Friday

The Deschutes National Forest will begin the first phase of opening campgrounds this Friday.

Other campgrounds will open through two more phases.

The Deschutes National Forest will restore access to campgrounds incorporating considerations for the safety of visitors and employees.

If a campground remains closed, it is likely closed due to hazard trees or other safety issues. People are encouraged to avoid closed campgrounds for their own safety and to allow crews to complete work.

In the table below, please see the campgrounds that are opening in the first phase beginning June 5, 2020. The table will be located and updated on the Deschutes National Forest website (www.fs.usda.gov/main/deschutes/home).

“We know many summer memories are made while camping outdoors. We are excited to start opening some campgrounds on the Deschutes National Forest for the public to enjoy,” said Holly Jewkes, Forest Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest.

  Some important items that people should know before going to the campgrounds:

  • This year all campsites are 100% reservable through Recreation.Gov to reduce contact between campers and campground hosts. If a campsite is not reserved it will be available “first come, first served,” but people are highly encouraged to make reservations.
  • People can reserve campsites at any time, with the minimum being two days prior to going to the site.
  • If people had reservations prior to the opening of a campground, they will receive an automatic refund.
  • Water systems in campgrounds that use hand pumps will not be available this year, except for horse camps. People should plan on bringing the water they need with them this year. Hand pumps were determined to be high contact points that could expose visitors to COVID-19.

As always, forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go.“ Check local weather conditions, fire restrictions and the status of the recreation site you are wanting to visit.  Check out  Know Before Your Go information.

Follow the same guidelines for social distancing and personal hygiene while recreating outdoors as you do at home and in your communities. Adhere to group size restrictions for Oregon while recreating.

Additional campground openings will be announced in mid-June. Information will be regularly updated on the Deschutes National Forest website.

Campground Status Table 06012020

King County seeks further easing of COVID-19 restrictions

SEATTLE (AP) — King County plans to apply for approval to enter into a modified Phase 1 on Monday after Gov. Jay Inslee announced he wouldn’t extend the state’s COVID-19 stay-home orders.

The Seattle Times reports that County Executive Dow Constantine announced Friday that the county, in consultation with officials at Public Health — Seattle & King County, will apply and begin reopening some business activity with limited or modified openings.

The stay-home order, in place since March 23, expired Sunday night.

So far, 26 of the state’s 39 counties are approved to enter Phase 2.

Brown fires director of Employment Department over delays

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Governor Kate Brown has fired the head of the Oregon Employment Department after long delays in delivering benefits to people who have lost jobs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Brown said Sunday she had asked for and received the resignation of Kay Erickson, who had run the department since Brown appointed her to the post in 2016. Brown issued stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, and many businesses have been closed or operating at reduced capacity.

“In the middle of this pandemic, the continued delays from the Oregon Employment Department in delivering unemployment insurance benefits to thousands of out-of-work Oregonians are unacceptable,” Brown said in a statement.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the employment department struggled through a series of leadership crises in the years before Erickson took over. She steered the department through a period of relative calm afterwards, as the state’s jobless rate fell to an all-time low of 3.3% and the agency had relatively few benefits claims.

When the pandemic hit, though, the employment department was quickly overwhelmed as more than 440,000 Oregonians filed for jobless benefits and the state’s unemployment rate spiked to an all-time high, 14.2%.

The department, using outdated equipment, was unable to keep up with the volume of claims or adapt its technology to accommodate changes in the jobless program. Although Oregon received $86 million federal funding for a computer upgrade in 2009, and successive audits warned the department was unprepared for a spike in jobless claims, work replacing the computers isn’t due to be complete until 2025.

Oregon COVID-19 Update: 58 new cases; no new deaths

The Oregon Health Authority reported no new deaths due to COVID-19, which leaves Oregon’s death toll unchanged at 153.

The OHA reported 58 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the state total to 4,243.

The new confirmed and presumptive cases reported today are in the following counties: Clackamas (6), Deschutes (1), Hood River (2), Jackson (1), Jefferson (3), Lane (4), Marion (11), Multnomah (23), Wasco (1), Washington (5), Yamhill (1).

Deschutes County is reporting 125 cases with 100 patients recovered. Jefferson County’s new cases bring its total to 33. Crook County has reported six cases.

More than 124,900 Oregonians have tested negative for COVID-19.

The risk to the general public is considered low. If you have questions or concerns about your risk of exposure, please contact your health care provider. Additional information for this outbreak will be added to the COVID-19 Weekly Report published Wednesday, June 3.


▶️ OSU’s coronavirus prevalence study starts Saturday in Bend


A team of Oregon State University researchers is coming to town this weekend, and they may be knocking at your door.

Thirty teams of researchers will travel through Bend Saturday and Sunday to test a random sample of people for COVID-19.

Friday afternoon, OSU leaders and health officials held a press conference to explain what the public can expect from the University’s TRACE study.

“We’ll have thirty teams of two members each. These teams consist of a student, from Corvallis and from the OSU Cascades campus, as well as team leads, which those people have backgrounds in community health, public health.”

Each team will go to a different neighborhood around Bend, approach a house at random and invite the people inside to be tested, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Jeff Bethel, co-director for the TRACE leadership team, said they hope to test more than 650 people.

“If they agree to participate, they’ll administer a short interview, then they’ll work with the participants to collect their own nasal swab specimen,” Bethel said.

The results of the study will be available in seven to ten days.

When the same study was conducted in Corvallis, results suggested one in every 1,000 people was infected.

“That’s why we’re doing this, really,” Bethel said. “It’s to generate an estimate of prevalence in Bend, to provide that baseline for moving forward to see what is it currently.”


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


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


WA virus order expiring, counties get more flexibility

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced he would not extend the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order beyond Sunday and would allow counties more flexibility to apply to advance through the current four-phase reopening plan using updated benchmarks that some larger counties had been seeking.

The stay-at-home order — in place since March 23 — was set to expire Sunday night. With the addition of two more counties Thursday, 26 of the state’s 39 counties are currently approved for Phase 2, which allows restaurants and taverns to reopen at half capacity with limited table sizes, hair and nail salons and barber shops to resume business, and for retail stores to reopen for in-store purchases at 30% capacity. It also allows additional outdoor recreation and gatherings with no more than five people outside of a person’s household.

“Counties will have more flexibility to demonstrate that they have the capability to stay on top of the virus,” Inslee said. “This does not mean obviously that we’re returning to normal. It means that three months to the day after we declared a state of emergency we’re successfully moving forward.”

Immediately after Inslee’s announcement King County, by far Washington’s most populous county, announced it would apply to allow a limited re-opening of some businesses, including outdoor dining at restaurants at 50% capacity and time-limited in-store retail at 15% of building occupancy. Also, the county that is home to Seattle would seek to allow outdoor gatherings of 5 or fewer people.

Initially, only counties with a population of less than 75,000 and no new cases of COVID-19 over three weeks could apply for a quicker reopening. But last week, Inslee modified those metrics, allowing those with fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period to apply for a variance from the order. Some larger counties, including Pierce and Snohomish, had argued the case count requirement was too strict and that their counties were ready to move to the next phase.

Now, starting Monday, counties can apply to advance to the next phase or to add new business activity, with the applications assessed on several targets, including whether the counties have had fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period.

Their application also will be measured on the reproductive rate of the virus in the county, hospital bed capacity, and number of outbreaks in workplaces and nursing homes. The counties also have to submit testing data and target number of confirmed cases and contacts reached in contact-tracing investigations. The guidance offered by the governor’s office said that the applications will be considered as a whole, and that not meeting one target won’t necessarily prevent the state from approving the county’s application.

Several counties are well above the new benchmark of new cases per population rate, including Yakima, which had a rate of 481 cases per 100,000 residents for the two-week period ending May 23.

Secretary of Health John Wiesman said that for counties with very high rates, “we’re going to have to be extremely cautious about how we move forward.”

Also Friday, Inslee announced that starting June 8, workers are required to wear facial coverings unless they don’t interact with others on the job. Employers must provided the needed materials to their employees. Face coverings aren’t required, but are strongly encouraged, to be worn by customers or others while in public.

More than 21,000 people in Washington state have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least 1,111 have died. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

A county that is still not eligible to advance beyond the first phase can apply for a “modified” Phase 1, which would allow some Phase 2 activities, like construction and manufacturing, and opening of restaurants with outdoor seating only, at 50% capacity, and in-store retail at 15% of capacity.

The new guidance builds on several restrictions that have been lifted over the past month, including fishing and golfing, the reopening of state parks and the resumption of existing construction. Earlier this week, Inslee announced that churches, mosques and synagogues can resume in-person services, with those in counties in the second stage of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan allowed to have smaller in-building services and the remainder limited to outdoor services with no more than 100 people.

Once counties have been in Phase 2 for at least three weeks they can apply to move to Phase 3, which expands group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and allows restaurants to increase capacity to 75%. Gyms and movie theaters could reopen at half capacity, but nightclubs and entertainment venues will still remain closed during this phase.

Most public interactions resume in the final phase, with bars, restaurants and entertainment and sporting venues returning to their regular capacity.