▶️ COVID cases dip locally; health officials urge continued vigilance to maintain trend

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

As cases of the novel Coronavirus decline in Deschutes and Crook Counties, some are calling for an easing of restrictions.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve had quite a drop in cases,” said Jill Johnson with Deschutes County Public Health. “The week before last 35, last week 32.”

“Our positivity last week was 2.11 (percent),” said County Commissioner Patti Adair. “Which is way below five percent.”

It’s good news, but it also has some questioning why Gov. Kate Brown threatened to tighten restrictions on bars and restaurants.

“The governor, last Thursday with the county commissioners, told us that if our numbers didn’t improve she was going to shut our economy again,” said Adair. “A lot of people tell me that if we shut down again that will be the end of our lives work.

Attorney and former Bend Mayor Jeff Eager is one of several questioning the need for more closures.

“My concern is that as we head into the colder weather, a lot of restaurants that have been making it go this summer because they can seat a bunch of people outside,” said Eager. “If the state really believes that closing bars or closing restaurants to indoor dining is important and critical, they need to demonstrate why that’s the case.”

Deschutes County Public Health says, we shouldn’t celebrate the declining numbers just yet.

“The challenge is keeping that going,” said Johnson. “I think it’s really important that we not let up on our control measures.”

Though there is a disagreement about restrictions, most agree some level of caution is needed.

“I don’t think we can afford to lessen the restrictions,” said Adair. “I just think we need to be careful.”

“I think we should wear masks,” said Eager. “That’s a low price to pay if it makes even a small difference in terms of allowing businesses to reopen and getting our kids back in school.”

Adair says the county is working to add more information to their website on where to get tested for COVID-19, and is hiring a mobile testing clinic that should be available in the next week.

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