PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County health officials gave an update on Wednesday about the progress the county is making towards reopening.
The progress update includes data on contact tracing, testing, PPE and other metrics required to apply for Phase 1 reopening. Last week, the county revealed a new data dashboard to show weekly progress. The new dashboard released Wednesday (May 20) showed great progress – but not enough to enter Phase 1.
“We are not releasing a date for reopening, or a specific date that we will be submitting our plan,” Public Health Director Rachel Banks said.
Dr. Jennifer Vines, the county’s lead health officer, said progress is being made on a reopening plan and asked for the public’s patience.
“We need the county to trust we have a safe plan for reopening and I think we’re almost there,” she said. “But again, as a dense, highly populated and relatively small geographic county, population density does matter. I think we have a reasonable plan in place and just need more time to get some of these important components nailed down.”
Vines encouraged residents to wear face coverings when out in public.
“This virus has challenged all of our assumptions about how disease is transmitted, so we’ve had to be agile in our thinking. Particularly the notion that the disease is spread by those without symptoms,” she said.
Multnomah County accounts for 40% of the state’s virus deaths.
On Tuesday, health officials said in a meeting that progress still needed to be made on contact tracing, support for communities of color and having enough personal protective equipment for first responders. Health officials have also added criteria for underserved communities in Multnomah County that must also be met.
Health officials admitted staying closed could prove challenging as the surrounding counties—namely Washington and Clackamas counties—move forward with reopening.
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