Brown’s office shares draft of plan to reopen Oregon 

Coronavirus

Discussions on the draft plan begin this week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Monday, Governor Kate Brown’s office released a draft of a plan to reopen the state after weeks of being under stay-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan takes the framework from the Trump administration’s “Opening Up America Again Guidelines,” released on April 16, but notes that the Oregon Health Authority and the governor’s Medical Advisory Panel have not thoroughly reviewed the administration’s plan, and it will be subject to modifications that cater more specifically to Oregon.

In an overview, the framework for reopening consists of: gating criteria, core state preparedness, and phased lifting of restrictions. The Trump administration plan says there first needs to be downward trajectories, during a 14-day period, of influenza-like illnesses, COVID-19-like cases, of documented cases or of positive tests as a percent of total tests, as well as “robust testing and contact tracing.” Oregon, however, has some counties where there no or few COVID-19 cases.  The draft says Oregon will likely use modified metrics, especially for rural counties who have small numbers. 

Core state preparedness refers to testing and contact tracing, ensuring that the state’s health care system has sufficient personal protective equipment as well as ICU capacity in case of a surge in cases. The draft plan also notes a need for planning, in terms of ensuring the health and safety of returning workers in critical industries, mass transit, and those living and working in high-risk facilities such as senior care.

Once these bases are covered, the state can begin to move into phases of lifting the shutdown restrictions that have been in place under the stay home order, at the governor’s direction.

Lifting restrictions

Phase One

Phase one of the drafted plan still includes social distancing and urges people to wear face coverings when out in public. The plan also stresses working from home whenever possible and says vulnerable populations should continue to shelter in place.

The draft estimates that people should not gather in groups larger than ten, however, an asterisk next to that figure said it was subject to review by the OHA.

Under Brown’s revised plan of the federal framework, childcare will be expanded and non-emergency medical procedures will be reviewed based on geography.

Larger venues like sports arenas and theaters, as well as gyms, will remain closed during Phase One.

A page from the drafted plan to reopen Oregon compares the Trump administration’s recommendations to the modifications being considered for Oregon. (Courtesy Office of Governor Kate Brown)

Geographical accommodations are being considered and will be discussed in the coming days. For a county to reopen, the plan could possibly require prerequisites before approval from the governor’s office, such as a letter of recommendation from the county’s public health officer and regular reporting that PPE supplies are sufficient.

Phase Two

Phase Two of the plan could begin after a 14-day holding period during which gating criteria is passed.

While still under review by the OHA, Phase Two proposes increasing gathering capacity up to 50 people. Non-essential travel could also resume. Schools and gyms could be permitted to re-open, provided that social distancing could still be maintained.

Phase Three

After another two-week waiting period, Phase Three proposes increasing the size of mass gatherings, allowing worksites to have unrestricted staffing, and allowing restaurants and bars to have more seating. Under Phase Three, visitors could once again be allowed into nursing homes.

Sector-specific discussions on this draft plan are set to start this week. KOIN 6 News reached out to the governor’s office for comment on this plan and who will be a part of the discussions, and received the following response:

“Stakeholders and practitioners who can give feedback about what potential ideas and solutions for reopening safely would work for their specific businesses and sectors will be included in the discussions.”

The plan is expected to be finalized the week of May 4.

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This article was written with contributions from the Associated Press.

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