State approves Washington County for Phase I starting June 1
For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 28, 2020
Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have approved Washington County’s application for Phase I reopening, effective Monday, June 1.
The county will hold a virtual press conference at 4 p.m. today. Washington County and Tualatin Valley Community Television (TVCTV) will live stream the news conference in English and Spanish as follows:
English live stream: https://www.youtube.com/WashingtonCntyOregon
Spanish live stream: https://youtu.be/OblAxO0qF0E
Phase I includes limited reopening of restaurants and bars, personal services such as salons, gyms and malls. Gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed for recreational, social, cultural, civic or faith events as long as physical distancing requirements are met.
“We are especially grateful for the governor’s leadership allowing public health expertise and science to guide our approach as well as taking culturally appropriate actions as we seek to protect the community’s health and safety,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington. “Now that we have been approved to enter Phase I on Monday, June 1, each of us has an obligation – to ourselves and to each other – to play by the rules and keep the virus on the decline.”
“As we begin to open up and move around more, we urge the community to proceed carefully,” said Health and Human Services Director Marni Kuyl. “We all need to stay home if we are sick, practice physical distancing, wash our hands often and wear cloth face coverings whenever possible.”
The approval means that Washington County has met or has plans in place to meet these seven requirements:
- Declining prevalence of COVID-19
- Minimum testing regimen
- Contact tracing system: Washington County will have 42 new surge staff hired and trained by June 1. This will allow the county to reach 95% of close contacts within 24 hours as it enters Phase I. After June 1, the county will continue to hire additional staff to meet the state’s requirement of having 15 contact tracers per 100,000 people. This will include 90 staff doing the work of contact tracing, and another 30-40 people supporting this work. At least 30% of the new staff will be bilingual/bicultural.
- Isolation/quarantine facilities
- Finalized statewide sector guidelines
- Sufficient health care capacity
- Sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply
New investigative guidelines from OHA require asking positive cases to isolate and their entire households to quarantine at home for at least 14 days. Some of the county’s new workforce will provide support and resources to these families who are unable to meet their essential needs, such as getting groceries.
“There are steps we can all take to prevent a resurgence in disease and hospitalizations,” said Kuyl. “For instance, gatherings outside are safer than inside. Smaller groups are less risky than larger groups. Let’s all do what we can to move forward, not backward.”
Washington County’s COVID-19 website is www.co.washington.or.us/covid-19.
Wendy Gordon, Lead Public Information Officer, Washington County Joint Information Center
Philip Bransford, Communications Officer, County Administrative Office