Malheur County has been approved to enter Phase 2 for Reopening Oregon during the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, June 6th. The letter from the Malheur County Court was submitted Monday, June 1st and demonstrated the county’s readiness as well as the public health indicators measured by the Oregon Health Authority. As of today, there have been 32 COVID-19 cases in Malheur County and 762 negative test results reported. This puts the positive rate at 4%, which has been going down due to increased testing and intensive case investigation and contact tracing efforts.
The letter of approval from Governor Brown emphasized the importance of carefully reopening according to state guidance: “My goals in Phase 2 remain the same as they were when we initially laid out the roadmap for a phased reopening of 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 moving to Phase 2 comes with increased risk. With every restriction lifted we know transmission of the virus has the potential to increase. You should be proud of the work done thus far by your local public health department to test, track, and isolate new cases of COVID-19. That work has made it possible for your county to move to the next phase.”
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. Additional guidance for the public and businesses can be found on the Governor’s website and will be available on malheurhealth.org later today. By following the guidance, people help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect those at highest risk of severe disease as we work collectively to build a safe and strong Malheur County.