As plans to reopen the state surface, some Oregon counties are closer to Governor Kate Brown’s reopening criteria than others. Benton County is currently planning to apply to reopen early next week, ahead of some other struggling counties in the state.
To meet the governor’s criteria, counties must show: 1) that they can test 30 out of every 10,000 people per week, 2) display a decline in coronavirus-related hospitalizations or have five or fewer total cases, and 3) have the ability to properly conduct contact tracing for the virus.
Benton County accounts for 44 confirmed cases of the 2,989 in the state, and four of the state’s 121 deaths. In comparison, Multnomah County has had 863 confirmed cases and 53 deaths, and is weeks away from being able to apply for reopening. Washington County is also among the counties hit hardest by the pandemic, but plans to reopen in early to mid-June. Linn, Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, and Wallowa counties have already applied for Phase 1 re-opening, and Clackamas County is still a couple of weeks away from meeting the necessary criteria.
The Oregon Health Authority will be reviewing counties’ applications for reopening as they arrive.
By Cara Nixon