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Clackamas County delayed in reopening to Phase 2 posted on 07/01/2020

New modeling of the coronavirus released by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Institute for Disease Modeling in late June revealed it is spreading more rapidly in the state. The model, based on data through June 18, predicted that daily case levels could rise as much as 20 percentage points.

"We know that COVID-19 is in our communities," said Dean Sidelinger, MD, Oregon state health officer, in a press release. "This latest model provides us with a sobering reminder that we all need to guard against continued spread, especially as we continue to reopen and the weather gets warmer.

"Think hard about your choice of activities, especially as we get close to the Fourth of July holiday,” he added. “Ask yourself: how can I reduce my risk and the risk I might pose to people around me?"

As of Friday, June 26, OHA reported a total of 7,818 cases of the coronavirus in Oregon, including 665 cases and 24 deaths in Clackamas County.

As of Tuesday, June 23, the county had 8.45 trained case investigators, with eight others hired and in training, and 3.4 trained contact tracers, with 9.2 others hired and training.

Clackamas County Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown on Thursday, June 18 that requested approval for the county to move into Phase II of reopening. Brown, however, grouped Clackamas County with Multnomah and Washington Counties as a tri-county area that must remain in Phase 1 of reopening until at least Friday, July 10.

“I know this impacts communities and businesses in Clackamas and Washington counties but, as we reopen our state, we must recognize how interconnected the metro area is,” Brown said in a press release.

Brown also announced that people in that tri-county area, in addition to Hood River, Marion, Polk and Lincoln counties, are also required to wear face coverings while in indoor public spaces, including grocery stores and other businesses, starting on Wednesday, June 24.

Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard issued a statement stressing that the health of the county’s residents remains the top priority and the county is working to prepare for Phase 2.

“We understand that many are ready to return to normal life, get back to work, and gather with our friends, loved ones and community,” Bernard said. “It is understandable that some are disappointed that we are not moving into Phase II. Yet, we cannot ignore the increase in cases of COVID-19 and the alarming projections of how many more people would get sick if we continued into Phase II reopening.”

The county reopened its primary service buildings, the Development Services Building (DSB) and the Public Services Building (PSB), to the public during limited hours on Monday, June 22. Both buildings are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, offering services including Assessment and Taxation, Business and Community Services and more.

Other county departments continue to offer virtual services. Residents are encouraged to contact departments regarding services at www.clackamas.us/departments for clarification regarding open services.

For information on Clackamas County’s preparations to enter into Phase II visit: www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/reopening.

OHA recommendations on what you can do to suppress the virus:

– Stay 6 feet away from other people.

– Wear a mask.

– Avoid large gatherings, and if you are in a group setting (like a holiday barbeque)  stay outside, keep your distance and use a face covering when you’re not eating.

– Wash your hands frequently.

– Stay home if you’re sick.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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