Douglas County officials Friday afternoon submitted an application to the governor for a Phase One reopening.
Gov. Kate Brown indicated Thursday that the first phase could include reopening salons, gyms, barbershops and restaurant dining rooms in rural areas that meet criteria for low COVID-19 infection rates, high testing availability and contact tracing.
The businesses have been shuttered for more than a month under a statewide stay-at-home order.
County officials said they’re ready to start reopening.
Friday was the first day the state began accepting applications from counties wishing to reopen.
Counties that receive the governor’s approval could enter Phase One as early as May 15.
Douglas County Board of Commissioners Chairman Chris Boice and Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer led the effort to complete and submit the Phase One reopening application.
“We are hopeful and encouraged by the opportunity to submit our reopening application,” Boice said in a written statement.
“Our Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team, under the direction of Commissioner Tim Freeman, along with the incredible work accomplished by our Public Health Official, Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer and Douglas Public Health Network, have paved the way for Douglas County to be in the right position to begin the reopening process in a safe and organized manner,” Boice said.
“We have done our due diligence, met the criteria outlined and we are ready!” he said.
The COVID-19 Response Team said in a press release the county has been recognized as a leader for its drive-thru testing. It also said it has the capacity to do more COVID-19 testing, and encourages people with symptoms like cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains, diarrhea, sore throat or decreased sense of smell and taste talk to their health care providers about being tested for COVID-19.
No new cases were reported in the county Friday. There has been just one positive test reported in the last 18 days, and that patient has already recovered. The total stands at 24, with 22 having recovered. No county residents have died of the disease. One remains in the hospital.
The response team collaborated with county departments and community health care providers to respond to the crisis.
At first, no one knew what to expect, the press release said.
Projections about the disease’s spread led to alarm about the potential for the county to face a shortage of hospital beds and personal protective equipment, or PPE, such as masks if there was a surge in the numbers of people falling ill.
Now, the county is now in a better position to address any surge in cases because of the response team’s work, the press release said.
Douglas County Human Resources Director Michael Kurtz, a veteran, helped get the response team running.
“Seeing our staff working seamlessly with all of these partner agencies really highlights the level of professionalism the County has within its senior management team,” Kurtz said in the press release.
“It was also reassuring to see that same level of professionalism and subject matter expertise in our partnering agencies. The resources that everyone around the table was able to bring to this effort were remarkable. The work isn’t over, but this is certainly a community that is up to the challenge,” Kurtz said.