The Malheur County Reopening Plan to enter Phase I on May 15th has been approved.
Malheur County has been proactive in the COVID-19 response, from raising community awareness in February and activating the ICS team and state of emergency in March, to hosting the first drive-up sites for testing in Eastern Oregon and submitting the first version of the Reopening Plan in April. The Malheur County Reopening Plan went through five revisions to meet the criteria released by the Governor’s Office and address questions in their review. The final version can be viewed, along with extensive information about the State’s reopening phases, on the COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians website: govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19.
The letter of approval from Governor Brown emphasized the importance of carefully reopening according to state guidance: “My goals for a safe and strong Oregon:
- Minimize hospitalizations and deaths;
- Allow people to return to work so they can support themselves and their families;
- Minimize risk to frontline workers;
- Avoid overwhelming the health care system;
- Protect those at highest risk of severe illness, especially the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and communities of color; and
- Support social/cultural/spiritual reopening for small groups that preserve community cohesion and cultural practices.
I want to be clear that reopening does not come without risks. With every restriction lifted we know transmission of the virus has the potential to increase. The contact tracing, testing and personal protective equipment requirements that were part of the conditions for opening will be essential to mitigate that transmission increase.”
The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce urges everyone who lives and works in Malheur County to show their support for reopening by wearing cloth face coverings when they leave home, staying vigilant about hand washing and disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining 6 feet physical distance from people outside your household when possible. By following the prevention measures, we can continue to slow the spread of the virus and hopefully enter Phase II as soon as June 5th.