In-person Services Restricted at County Buildings

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 19, 2020

Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

Public urged not to visit Washington County buildings

COVID-19 EOC Activation

Except under specific circumstances, Washington County is requesting that the public avoid visiting any county building during the organization’s emergency response to the new coronavirus.

The public is urged to call or email ahead of attempting to travel to any county building with the intent of meeting with county staff. More information about how county services may be curtailed can be found on the Washington County website. 

Although essential functions are still being provided throughout the organization, Washington County officials are taking actions to limit any person-to-person contact between staff and the public unless absolutely necessary. This means county departments and offices will seek to postpone consultations, proceedings, hearings and other meetings as much as possible. 

Alternatively, county personnel may direct members of the public to use telephone, email, webpages or other electronic means to conduct business with the organization. 

The county’s emphasis on avoiding face-to-face meetings at county buildings is anticipated to continue as long as a board-approved emergency declaration is in effect. 

“We recognize that restricting access to face-to-face meetings with county personnel represents an inconvenience at best for many in the community who rely on our services every day,” said Interim County Administrator Stephen Rhodes. “That said, it is critical to the health of our community that all of us engage in social distancing to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The lives of many vulnerable residents of Washington County and elsewhere depend on us taking these actions.”

Washington County has been operating under an emergency declaration approved by the Board of Commissioners on March 4 to address the spread of the new coronavirus. The declaration, which was re-authorized by the board on March 17, allows the organization to “conduct activities that minimize or mitigate the effect of the emergency.” 

The county’s public health division and emergency operations center (EOC) have been engaged in emergency response to the new disease over the last two weeks.

County public health officials continue to remind the public about simple steps everyone can take to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands well and often; 
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue; 
  • Stay home if sick;
  • Cancel any gatherings, conferences or non-essential meetings; 
  • Avoiding social and other gatherings if you are over 60 or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, lung, heart or similar disease; and
  • Increase the physical space between each other in workplaces and other settings to six feet whenever possible.

Health officials also ask that the public stay informed and educated through trustworthy sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Oregon Health Authority and Washington County Public Health Division

General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider.

Media Contact:

Philip Bransford, Communications Officer