Coronavirus, Government, Washington County

Washington County won’t move to next phase, seeks independence from tri-county COVID coupling

A map showing the status, as of Sunday, July 12, or Oregon’s counties and their phases. Photo: Oregon Health Authority

WASHINGTON COUNTY – With case counts rising in Oregon, the tri-county region (Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas Counties) won’t be entering phase 2 of Governor Kate Brown’s reopening Oregon plan under current conditions. 

In a July 8 press release, Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington noted the uptick in cases and hospitalizations driven by the state’s reopening. 

With the Independence Day holiday over, the county is now awaiting to see the impacts that the holiday gatherings and festivities will have in the coming weeks. 

“As a community it is now in our hands to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have all heard this before but it bears repeating, the individual choices we make impact our community’s ability to slow this virus. That means we all need to continue to limit our social gatherings, to stay close to home and to follow the Governor’s order to wear face coverings,” said Harrington. 

[We rely on subscribers to keep the lights on at the Gales Creek Journal. Support us with a digital subscription: Click here to start]

Harrington said that the county is closely watching four key indicators in Washington County, including the rising case count, the percent of positive tests, the number of cases not linked to other known cases and outbreaks, and an upward trend of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. 

Harrington also addressed the county’s efforts to wrest control of their own reopening plans away from the rest of the tri-county area. 

“What we asked the Governor was to consider “de-coupling” on a case-by-case basis. So if one county is not hitting their numbers but the other two have satisfied all six criteria, we wanted to be able to ask for consideration. Right now, this is not an issue as we are all struggling to hit the required public health criteria,” said Harrington. 

Harrington also stressed the importance of wearing a face mask when in an indoor public space, keeping contact with those outside of your immediate household limited, hand washing, and staying close to home. 

Other county resources

Washington County and several community organizations are pairing county residents to free counseling services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More information about the program can be found at the county’s Mental Health Matters web page. Schedule an appointment by emailing  [email protected] or by calling 503-846-4528. 

COVID-19 data digital Q&A 

The Oregon Health Authority will host a live question-and-answer session on the data used to track and report on the coronavirus pandemic in Oregon on Wednesday, July 15 at 12:30 p.m.

“We regularly get questions about Oregon’s data and how to interpret the various charts, reports, and trends. Next week, you can have your questions answered by our data experts directly,” the agency said. 

The Q&A will be hosted on the agency’s Facebook page in English and in Spanish

Case numbers climb

Oregon now sits at a total of 11,851 confirmed and presumptive cases, adding 409 cases as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, a number slightly inflated by a new reporting system that bundled some Thursday cases in with the new data. 

Oregon’s death toll from the virus is 232, according to state health data. There have been 280,332 negative tests in the state. 

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

Sign up for free Gales Creek news in your inbox ↓

The groceries your family needs!

New patients only, no cash value, cannot be combined with any other offers