As the COVID-19 case count in Oregon continues to rise (524 new cases in the past two days), the once united front between the three largest Oregon counties is fragmenting.
On June 25, the five-member Washington County Board of Commissioners wrote to Governor Kate Brown asking her to “consider amending its regional ‘linkage’ of Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties.”
Brown previously determined that the state’s three largest counties should continue the later stages of the reopening process, although Clackamas and Washington counties began Phase 1 long before Multnomah County, the last to reopen.
“In the coming weeks, as our region enters Phase 2, Washington County or one of our neighboring jurisdictions may backtrack on one or more of the criteria established by their office,” wrote the county commissioners of Washington on June 25.
“We cannot sufficiently affirm that a general policy that does not provide public health professionals with the continuous opportunity to consider the facts presented at that time is a mistake.”
“We ask that you consider the situation and circumstances of each county, based on the public health criteria you establish, before requesting a closure across the region.”
The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners made a similar request on June 18, but Brown denied it, saying that in light of the increasing spread of the virus, all three counties would have to remain in Phase 1 until July 10 at the latest. soon.
Brown spokesman Charles Boyle says the answer is the same for Washington County: There is too much interconnection and too many risks to allow counties to move at different speeds.
“Governor Brown has been clear: Given the current status of COVID-19 in the three-county region of the Portland Metro, as well as the practical reality that residents of one county often work or frequent other counties, the Public health indicators for the three counties will be evaluated as a region, and the region will move forward (or not) in the reopening process together, “Boyle said in a statement.
“The fact is, the three-county region is experiencing an increase in the number of cases, as well as major outbreaks of congregated care. If county leaders and residents want businesses to remain open, we need everyone to do their part to stop the spread of this disease by wearing facial covers and keeping six feet away in public, and avoiding large social gatherings.
“If Oregonians want their local stores, restaurants, and cafes to stay open, they must do more to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. We can all make a difference. Governor Brown is asking Oregonians to take these precautions. Seriously, if we do not take these steps to stay safe, then we will see hospitalizations increase rapidly We are seeing other states already being overwhelmed by the increase in cases and hospitalizations Texas and Florida began closing businesses again this week.
“If county leaders want businesses in the three-county region to remain open and continue to reopen, they must do everything possible to ensure coverage requirements are met in their counties.”