Lincoln County has obtained the final approval from the Oregon Governor’s Office to move forward into Phase 2 of the Reopening Oregon process.
Up and down the Oregon Coast, just one county has yet to advance to Phase 2 of reopening: Lincoln County. The delay sparked from a workplace outbreak at the Pacific Seafood fish plant that the Oregon Health Authority began investigating on June 2. The outbreak included 187 total cases and the most recent onset was July 26, according to OHA’s latest weekly report.
In the Phase 2 application, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners recommended the county move into Phase 2 on September 8, after Labor Day weekend. Phase 2 will allow wider reopening that includes recreational sports, venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pools and increased in-office work. Indoor social get-togethers are capped at 10 people with physical distancing.
Governor Kate Brown agreed to the date, despite the fact that Lincoln County has yet to meet two of the Phase 2 requirements.
“Thank you for the effort you, your residents,and your public health system have put into containing the spread of COVID-19 in your county,” Gov. Brown said in a letter to the Commissioners. We have been carefully monitoring your case trends and over the last two weeks, there has been an increase in positivity, slightly higher than the criteria to enter Phase 2. However, we anticipate that your county will stabilize and will be able to enter Phase 2 by the target date of September 8, 2020, if you continue to test, track and isolate new cases of COVID-19. This work will make it possible for you to move to the next phase.”
The increase in positivity has largely stemmed from an outbreak at the assisted living facility Hillside Place in Lincoln City, which currently has 21 total cases and two confirmed COVID-19 related deaths, according to the weekly report. Lincoln County Public Health also reported an outbreak at Surftides resort in Lincoln City, which has six total cases.
Also in the weekly report released August 19, OHA reported the outbreak at Avamere Rehabilitation of Newport has resolved. The outbreak, which was first reported on June 15, tallied 50 total cases and seven deaths.
Lincoln County public health reported that the county is currently meeting four of the six requirements for Phase 2 of reopening. The other two include:
- Percent of cases not traced to a known source in last 7 days (should be below 30 percent) - Not Met (59 percent).
- Percent of cases in last 7 days with follow up within 24 hours (should be 95 percent or more) - Not Met (86 percent).
“Your county will need to continue close monitoring of OHA’s six public health indicators to manage any increase in new cases,” Gov. Brown told the Commissioners. “Maintaining a culturally responsive and robust contact tracing system, as well as an effective testing and isolation strategy, will be key to containing any potential spread of the virus. Phase 2 is the last full phase until there is a widely available treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19.”
“OHA will be monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in your county, and throughout the state, and will be ready to work with you if any concerns arise.”
The Board of Commissioners will discuss the letter and any additional information received from the State at its regular Board meeting on Monday, August 24 at 3 p.m. The Board will also discuss the short-term lodging "24 hour holdback" provision which is still in effect for unincorporated lodging properties in the County.