By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
As two counties in Oregon move backwards in reopening phases and local cases continue to increase, the question is: could a Jefferson County–a county with similar numbers–be next?
“Obviously we believe it’s real and people need to be careful,” one Madras resident said. “We wear masks, things like that, we try not to do things that we shouldn’t be doing but we don’t worry too much about it.”
“I’m worried about Madras opening primarily because it’s a smaller community,” said a Madras resident. “The cases have really jumped and there are a lot of underlying conditions, particularly for the elders.”
Jefferson County has reported 299 cases of COVID-19, 10 more cases and one more death than Morrow County. Morrow County returned to Phase One of reopening Friday.
Those numbers in Jefferson County continue to rise. The county remains on the OHA’s “watch list.”
In a statement to Central Oregon Daily News, Jefferson County Public Health stressed the importance of “remaining at your homes, avoiding family gatherings, and choosing one person to shop from your household.”
“The decision to move backward in phases” Jefferson County Public Health went on to say, would not be a decision made by Public Health or County Commissioners, but “driven by community decisions.”
Residents have different opinions about whether Governor Brown should or will roll back Jefferson County to an earlier phase.
“She could, but I don’t want our economies killed,” said a Madras resident. “It’s killing economies, it’s killing businesses. You just see closed businesses all over. It’s horrible what’s going on.”
“With the spike in cases, and with the upcoming school year, I think it would be kind of a better idea to kind of push back into re-closing some things and re-evaluating some of our procedures to take care of COVID,” a Warm Springs resident said.
Jefferson County Public Health has also asked that anyone who is contacted by staff and asked to self-isolate do so and follow public health staff recommendations.