▶️ Local leaders grapple with the risk, demand to reopen economy

By ANYSSA BOHNAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

About 100 county commissioners spoke with Governor Brown Monday about reopening Oregon’s economy.

All three Deschutes County Commissioners, Phil Henderson, Patti Adair and Tony Debone, had previously signed a letter advocating for at least a partial reopening of the state.

“We’re pretty lucky here in Oregon, it’s 18 deaths to the million,” said Adair. “We have five counties that have zero cases.”

The Governor has said she’d like to begin reopening rural counties first who have little to no cases.

“We know normally what works in Portland doesn’t work in Harney County anyway, so this is important especially highlighted with the COVID cases and that the fact there are no cases in some counties,” said state representative Cheri Helt. “So they should be treated differently.”

Re-opening businesses across the state will happen in phases, with Phase I seeing certain businesses reopening with precautions still in place.

“We could be ready to implement it all may be somewhere close to the end of May, and if we see a huge spike of COVID-19 cases in our community, we’re going to have to re-think,” Bend Mayor Sally Russell said.

While Governor Kate Brown has said there isn’t a time frame for when we can expect a drop in COVID-19 cases to occur, she does want to see a decline in cases, more testing and adequate protective supplies for health care workers before reopening some areas.

The governor held a meeting Tuesday to discuss when hospitals could reopen for elective surgeries.

St. Charles told us today…it has already resumed some elective surgeries.

But state and local officials warn…reopening has to be carefully planned so we don’t see a resurgence.

“If we open up the economy and we do see activity, how do we pull it back also? Because this is people’s lives we’re talking about,” County Commissioner Tony DeBone said.

“If we don’t all come out at once then it will help us to not have a secondary wave,” Helt said.

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