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Doctors Bob Dannenhoffer, front, and Brad Seely conduct a demonstration staged for media representatives of drive-thru testing for the coronavirus conducted by the Douglas Public Health Network in March at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that Douglas County will be allowed to move into a Phase 2 reopening Friday.

The county’s entry into Phase 2 means larger groups can gather, especially at faith-based events like church services. As many as 50 people can gather socially indoors and 100 outdoors, while churchgoers at some of the larger churches can gather in groups of 250 as long as there is 35 square feet of space for each person.

Several new options have opened up for entertainment. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades and swimming pools can reopen and recreational sports can be held.

Restaurants and bars will now be able to remain open until midnight, where they had to close by 10 p.m. before.

More people can return to working in offices, though social distancing is still required and working from home recommended where possible.

Brown said in her letter to the county that moving into Phase 2 comes with increased risk.

“With every restriction lifted we know transmission of the virus has the potential to increase,” she wrote. “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.”

She also wrote that Phase 2 “is the last full phase until there is a widely available treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said the first phase of reopening has gone very well, with community support and having the right people in the right places to guide the county through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though we are moving forward, this will not be a quick or easy road for our local businesses or residents,” Boice said in a written statement. “We will all need to work together to help our neighbors, friends, families and our livelihoods rebound from this crisis. Please continue to support your local communities by making purchases, dining out, staying home if you are sick and signing up to volunteer when and where you can.”

The Phase 2 announcement followed an announcement that one new COVID-19 case has been reported, bringing the total to 29. Of those, 25 have recovered and two are now hospitalized.

Douglas County Public Health Official Bob Dannenhoffer said he anticipates there will be more cases because the threat of the virus is not gone. However, he said the county has increased its ability to track cases and support people who quarantine.

“All indicators are showing we have a low burden of COVID disease here locally. But, we still encourage people to socially distance, stay home if you’re sick and wear masks in public to reduce the spread if you’re asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic,” he said.

In all, 25 counties received approval Thursday to enter Phase 2 either Friday or Saturday and a 26th, Tillamook, will join them Monday.

Those not moving forward yet include Umatilla, Jefferson and Deschutes counties, all still listed as under review late Thursday afternoon.

Those that had not yet submitted Phase 2 applications were Clackamas, Hood River, Lincoln, Marion, Polk and Washington counties, as well as Multnomah County, which had not yet entered Phase 1.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(23) comments

Mike

Currently Oregon's 7-day rolling average on daily new coronavirus cases is the highest its EVER been and is increasing. Meanwhile OHA has declared victory over coronavirus because hospitalizations are down and has scaled back weekend reporting of coronavirus data (including hospitalizations) on its website.

Mike

The Oregon Health Authority reported 92 new coronavirus cases today with 2 more deaths. Combined with 96 new cases reported yesterday, the two day total of 188 new cases is the highest ever reported by OHA.

Mike

24 new coronavirus cases and one death have been reported in the six counties surrounding Douglas County over the past week.

Mike

The Oregon Health Authority reported 95 new coronavirus cases today with 2 more deaths. That is the highest number of new cases since April 4.

Mike

The Oregon Health Authority reported today there are 263 available ICU beds and 1,082 available non-ICU hospital beds available in the State of Oregon. Both are the lowest numbers of available beds since OHA began publishing these daily numbers in mid-March.

This means 25% of the total 1,040 ICU beds in the state are available for patients and 22% of 4,896 total non-ICU hospital beds in the state are available for patients.

https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19

mynamehere

Went to a local health facility. In the lobby was a woman at a table handing out masks to those who needed them. Walked into the doctor's office and not even the doctor was wearing a mask...it wasn't required.

Mike

I went to my dermatologist this morning. The 15 - 20 employees and doctors working there all were wearing their masks properly. For that I am thankful. I was the only customer wearing a mask. The 10 or so other customers in the waiting room looked at me with my mask like I was going to rob the place. None were wearing masks. Few were younger than me.

Mike

Governor Brown’s phased approach to reopening Oregon is a joke. Let me use Lane County as an example. Lane County was approved for Phase 2 yesterday. Lane County reported 55 coronavirus cases when it entered Phase 1. Lane County reported 80 coronavirus cases yesterday when it was approved for Phase 2. That’s an increase of 25 new cases (45%) since the beginning of Phase 1. Lane County also had 12 new cases (18%) and one death during the week leading up to its approval for Phase 2. Governor Brown’s Phase 2 requires Lane County NOT have over 5% new cases in the previous week????

According to Oregonlive, “Brown’s approval Thursday comes even as the Oregon Health Authority is under scrutiny about its transparency for calculating whether counties have met the reopening criteria set by state public health officials. The state created an online dashboard to monitor county progress on six metrics but has refused to release the underlying data so those calculations can be replicated. The lack of transparency makes it impossible to independently corroborate whether counties are meeting the goals outlined by the Oregon Health Authority. But state officials have said they look at those metrics holistically, and even some counties that didn’t meet each indicator Thursday, according to the state’s dashboard, nonetheless earned Brown’s approval.”

Why does Governor Brown bother.

Mike, what's important is the stats and the big picture, not whining about DPHN refusing to give you what you want. The state is in charge of health demographics, not local health departments. Certainly you are aware in what must be your coronavirus bunker lined with sticky notes that local hospital capacity is included in the County's application at https://www.oregon.gov/gov/coronavirus/SubmissionstoReopen/Douglas-County-Phase-1-Submission.pdf

Why all the negative drama, obsessive copy and paste news articles posted as comments, and often harassing and untrue statements posted as facts (your interpretation), that is where your credibility gets lost. Will you ever be able to see the forest through the trees?

Mike

I get it. The big picture is Douglas County has a meager 29 cases and no deaths. Trust me, my wife and I would love to return to what was previously normal life. We miss it and our friends. We thought we were almost there. We almost made it to May 30 without a new case which would have been two weeks without a new case in Douglas County, our self-imposed tipping point to begin returning to normalcy. And then WHAM, four new cases, at least two of which DPHN has admitted being unable to trace to the source, which means those asymptomatic sources of the disease are still out there in Douglas County somewhere infecting more people. Where, we have no idea because all patient data is super-secret. ALL we know is there are other possibly contagious disease spreaders out there somewhere that DPHN may never identify because they are wholly focused on testing people with symptoms and choose to avoid testing for asymptomatic cases.

Not only is Oregon the second to lowest state in the U.S. on testing its residents, Douglas County is the 12th lowest county in Oregon on testing its residents, the vast majority on people exhibiting symptoms and all of which were spread out over a three month period with nothing preventing people with previous negative tests from becoming infected since the last test was administered. Bottom line, DPHN HOPES Douglas County has no more than 29 cases, but DPHN doesn't know because it performs so few tests and does zero testing for asymptomatic cases which may be more prevalent than people exhibiting symptoms. It’s been that way since the beginning with Douglas County testing. I know you’ve noticed because I’ve read your comments about testing. An unbiased observer might conclude DPHN has intentionally minimized testing to avoid finding new cases for fear of delaying the reopening of Douglas County businesses. Whether true or not, I’m not willing to bet my feeble sticky-note bunker life on those big picture case numbers. Obviously other people are taking that bet. That’s their life and they are free to ignore my comments just like you can.

For some reason you find it necessary to frequently scold me. Go for it. It’s supposedly a free world. After reading your subservient comments to commissioner Boice and about DPHN, it’s pretty clear what your agenda is. That’s your choice, your right. I don’t remember slamming your right.

The facts sure beat your mug slinging.

Mike

Right on cue, DPHN announces zero coronavirus test results today.

Neutralcomment

Our country leaders have shown that they don't always adhere to ethics or the truth and people would like to check their work. Is that really all that outlandish?

Not all all, the public has the right to expect honesty in public leaders. Like you, we have a neutral view. Inaccurate comments posted as statements of fact are a waste of time.

Mike

You keep talking about inaccuracies in my comments, but rather than provide specifics you write about me whining in my coronavirus bunker lined with sticky notes. Claiming I'm inaccurate and then hurling insults has become a frequent tactic of yours. Always without saying why I'm inaccurate. When I question one of your comments, you chose to not respond. Your agenda is clear.

Mike

I'm willing to bet Governor Brown is unaware Douglas County has five new cases since entering Phase 1 and four new cases in the past 8 days. Commissioner Boice's letter to the Governor requesting Douglas County be allowed to enter Phase 2 claimed Douglas County only had 2 new cases (below link). What do you call that when you don't tell the truth?

One of the Phase 2 requirements is to not have over 5% new cases in the previous week. Douglas County had 13% new cases.

Another of the Phase 2 requirements is that all new cases have to be traced back to their source. Douglas County Public Health Officer Dr. Dannenhoffer admitted yesterday at least two of the cases had not been traced back to the source.

Do you think our Governor was made aware of those two issues before approving Douglas County to enter Phase 2 or do you think she simply chose to ignore her own guidelines when granting approval?

https://www.oregon.gov/gov/coronavirus/SubmissionstoReopen/Douglas-County-Phase-2-Submission.pdf

TDK

Taking the time to even consider as to whether or not there has been 2 new cases or 5 is mind boggling to me. The bottom line is that we have had ZERO deaths in Douglas County caused by COVID 19. Even more odd is why there is not any discussion comparing Influenza/Pneumonia deaths in Douglas County. In 2017, there was 22 deaths caused by Influenza/Pneumonia of which was a minor increase from 2016. Even more stunning, is the fact that 2017 numbers still show a significant decrease from year to year starting in 2002. Some people have said that due to social distancing, face masks etc. has played a major role in keeping COVID deaths to remain at zero. I find this to be an astonishing example. Has anyone been to Walmart lately? Enough said I would hope.

An additional question I have for all you CNN/MSNBC loyalists, is if we already have a vaccine for Influenza, why is there still any deaths caused by Influenza for folks that actually had been vaccinated? In 2017 nationally, there was anywhere from 61,000 to 80,000 deaths in total. Per the CDC, 5747 deaths were averted, credited to the vaccine. As more studies are being exposed (you have to really be watching closely as it would seem that when these studies are manifested they are getting removed quickly via social media) we are finding out that there is a mountain of junk that goes into the Influenza vaccine that has shown to cause long term medical problems.

What is this whole thing really about? My prediction is that all of Oregon will be completely opened up without any restrictions come the middle of November.

Mike

I hope it doesn't take that long.

sectorstar

Personally I feel this whole mask thing is one of the biggest jokes I've ever seen in my life. As some of you may know from my posts in other articles, I'm an employee at Costco where they implemented the infamous "No Mask, No Entry" policy, unless you have a medical condition which exempts you from having to wear one. Its similar to how someone can bring a dog into a store and say its a "service dog" when it really isn't and due to the Americans with disabilities act, we legally can't further question it. In the last few weeks since the policy started, I've learned two facts about the people of Douglas county:

1: The majority of people in their early 20s here seem to have already developed some type of respiratory or health condition which prevents them from having to wear a mask. While not impossible to develop those things at a young age, going by national statistics people in that age range should be on the lower end of the scale.

2: We seem to have a staggering amount of entire families of four where all the family members of various ages also have developed some medical condition which exempts them all from weaning a mask. While again not impossible for a such a thing to occur, its amazing how we seem to have atleast 20+ cases a day where two people who just happened to have such a medical condition married/hooked up with eachother and had multiple kids that developed it too?

The ones that do actually wear masks don't wear them correctly, so its not offering any protection to you or people around you. I'd say out of every 10 people with a mask on shopping at Costco, only 1 or 2 of them actually has it on correctly. Everyone else either takes it off after walking through the door, doesn't have their nose covered, only covers their chin, or just wears it on top of their head like a hat. Being an employee I'm also required to wear a mask, but I feel no safer than I did 2 months ago working maskless when masks weren't being offered by the company at that point and 95 percent of shoppers in there had no mask either. Even with a mask on, if someone coughs or sneezes, I can still contract a virus or some other pathogen through my eyes that my mask doesn't cover, and when most of the shoppers aren't wearing the masks correctly with having their nose or mouth exposed, it makes the concept of a mask pointless.

The other day I saw a woman shopping in scrubs that clearly worked in the medical or health profession, didn't have her nose covered while wearing a mask. I found that to be rather terrifying.

Few days before that a young man who was clearly a Dominos Pizza employee based on his attire came in with a mask that never covered anything besides his chin. Under Phase 1 pretty much all food places would require employees to wear masks as those don't have big enough work areas under the social guidelines. The fact he was ignorant about it tells me he (and probably other employees there) aren't wearing them correctly at their own job. I'd be really cautious to ever order anything from Dominos again.

Mike

I picked up a pizza from Dominoes last weekend. They were busy and had about 15 people working. All employees were wearing masks. About half of them had their masks under their chins. I did not observe a single customer wearing a mask during my 15 minute wait.

I've been to sonic and subway over the past week and have observed every employee wearing a mask properly. I completed customer surveys and thanked each for respecting my health.

smb

The definition of a guideline (a general rule, principle or piece of advice) isn't the same as the definition of a mandate (an official order or commission to do something). She published guidelines, not mandates. Even if they were mandates since she originated them she definitely can modify them based on a new understanding of the situation.

The very small sample size of DC's cases means percentages will be blown with pretty few cases. What should be tracked, and totally is, is the hospital's capacity. How many are showing up who end up having Covid, get admitted as an inpatient, then further need acute care including being put on a ventilator is what should be important to us all.

It's a good bet that some of the recent positives are asymptomatic (at least 40% if the numbers hold true from elsewhere). Some may be symptomatic but not sick enough to be an inpatient in a hospital. So, the even remotely worrisome cases are a blip right now.

Are you suggesting to keep our economy crippled because she shouldn't have approved Phase 2? Because she should follow some ruleset without fail?

Phase 2 could result in more cases Mike and you should pay attention to the hospital's capacity not a rigid formula determined at an earlier date but not necessarily relevant anymore...asymptomatic or low acuity cases should not stop us from getting the county back on its feet.

Mike

I'm not suggesting our economy remain crippled. What I'm suggesting is the system is misleading all of the way from the hospitals to the governor. It appears the governor, who is undoubtedly under huge pressure, has created a system to protect herself politically. The phased approach sounds good to the majority of folks not following it too closely (90% in Douglas County). And it prevents Oregon from being another Sweden. But its no different than setting the speed limit at 45 mph and then turning your head the other way when people start going 80 mph and ticketing them if they have an accident.

Douglas County has had four cases in eight days. What bothers me is how little transparency there is and how misleading DPHN has been with their information. Yesterday was the first time Douglas County Public Health Officer Dr. Dannenhoffer has told the public that a minimum of two of the recent cases were asymptomatic and DPHN has been unable to trace those cases to the source. That's a first. DPHN hasn't told the public whether any of the previous coronavirus cases were asymptomatic or if they had been unable to identify the source. Why? What does it hurt to provide this type of information? I'm sorry. I'm a cynic. In the absence of information, I don't trust the best possible outcome will occur. And I become more untrusting if I sense I'm being misled.

Since the CDC identifies Douglas County to be one of the worst counties to live in during a coronavirus pandemic due to its lack of hospital beds, I wholeheartedly agree with you that tracking Douglas County hospital bed capacity is something to indeed pay attention to. With that said, please point me to where I can find that information. I've been asking for that information be posted on DPHN's website for three months. I can provide the emails if you don't believe me. I know they have the information because Mercy Medical Center provides it twice daily to the Oregon Health Authority along with a bunch of other data which is reported statewide. But for some reason, its all secret.

Mike

I feel it necessary to clarify for nr77 that tracking Douglas County hospital capacity is NOT meant by me to be a single data point. I have stated a number of times that DPHN should publish daily hospital bed availability on their website along with some of the other data sent to OHA every day. Providing the data to the OHA to be published daily as part of an overall state report doesn't help Douglas County residents. It doesn't tell us whether local hospital resources will be available if we become sick. Sorry I wan't clear.

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