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Oregon counties must meet these requirements before moving to Phase 2 of reopening

Gov. Kate Brown sent a letter to county leaders outlining the Phase 2 criteria.
Credit: Rick Bowmer
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent out a letter to county leaders outlining the prerequisites counties must meet in order to enter the second phase of the state's reopening plan.

A county may apply to enter Phase 2 of reopening in Oregon only after it has been in Phase 1 for 14 days. It can enter Phase 2 after it has been in Phase 1 for 21 days.

Almost all counties in Oregon are in Phase 1. They had to meet the following criteria to enter:

  1. Over the previous 14-day period, the percentage of emergency department visits for COVID-19-like illnesses for the state as a whole must be less than the historic average for flu at the same time of year. The Oregon Health Authority tracks these data and will confirm that the state meets this metric. 
  2. Over the previous 14-day period, a county must show stable or declining hospital admissions for COVID-19. This metric only applies to counties with more than five hospitalized cases in the last 28 days. OHA tracks these data and will confirm whether the county meets this metric. 
  3. A county must have an adequate contact tracing system, as previously defined. The number of contact tracers must be included in a request to move to Phase 2.
  4. In addition, a county must continue to maintain adequate isolation/quarantine facilities, a minimum testing regimen, as previously defined, sufficient health care capacity to accommodate a 20% increase in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations, and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply as reported to OHA’s Hospital Capacity system. 

To enter Phase 2, the following additional prerequisites must be met:

  1. Timely Follow-Up: A minimum of 95% of all new cases must be contact traced within 24 hours as reported in the state’s system over the previous 7-day and 14-day time periods. 
  2. Successful tracing: 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. 
  3. No increase in incident cases or positivity.  There cannot be a 5% or greater increase in new cases in the county over the past 7 days; or a significant increase in the percentage of positive cases out of total tests taken in your county over the past seven days.  

If a controlled outbreak in a group living or working facility is solely responsible for violating one of the criteria, it may be waived by Gov .Brown and the Oregon Health Authority if there has been extensive follow-up testing and isolation.

It is likely that, much like Phase 1, smaller more rural counties in Oregon will be able to enter Phase 2 more quickly than larger, more metropolitan counties.

There are still no concrete plans as to what moving into Phase 2 will mean for counties that qualify. According to the state’s website, the second phase could potentially lead in-person gatherings of up 100 people with physical distancing and limitation to nursing homes. But even those limited details are subject to change.

On Thursday, Washington County was approved for Phase 1 of reopening and will begin its gradual reopening on June 1.

Multnomah County will apply for Phase 1 on June 5 and hopes to reopen June 12.

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