County officials submitted a letter to Gov. Kate Brown on Friday requesting Douglas County be allowed to begin a Phase 2 reopening.
The news came shortly after the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team announced Friday afternoon that there is one new case in the county.
It’s the second new case in the past two days and brings the total number of positives since March 8 to 27. Of those, 23 have recovered and one is still hospitalized.
The county has been in Phase 1 for two weeks, which means it could become eligible for Phase 2 as early as June 5 if it can win approval from the governor.
Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said in a press release county leaders are confident that their efforts to combat COVID-19 will pay off with the governor approving its Phase 2 request.
“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 advance to Phase Two in a safe and structured manner,” Boice said.
Details on what the state will allow under Phase 2 are still being worked out, but it may include an increase in gatherings to 100 people outdoors and 50 indoors, reopening of churches and theaters with occupancy limitations, increased office work and limited visits to nursing homes.
The governor sent a letter Thursday to counties across the state detailing the information they must provide in order to be allowed to move to Phase 2.
She said counties must attest they have enough personal protective equipment for first responders, give the number of trained contact tracers available to the county and tell the state if there have been any changes since the responses they gave in their Phase 1 applications.
Counties must not have a 5% or greater increase in new cases over the past week, and must be able to trace the contacts of 95% of new cases within 24 hours.
The percentage of emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms over the past two weeks must be lower than the historical average for the flu at the same time of year.
And if the county has had more than five hospitalized cases in the past four weeks, then COVID-19 hospital admissions must have declined over the past two weeks.
The county must also maintain adequate quarantine facilities, meet minimum testing requirements, and show they could accommodate a 20% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the letter said.
Almost all of the state’s counties are currently in Phase 1.
Washington County was approved Thursday to begin Phase 1 next week. That will leave Multnomah as the only Oregon county not yet in a Phase 1 reopening.