PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County health officials announced Wednesday that they intend to apply to enter Phase 1 on June 5 with the goal of entering Phase 1 on June 12 — despite a reported outbreak causing a spike in the number of cases in the county.
“By staying home we’ve seen hospitalization go down, the number of deaths are decreasing, so we’ve flattened the curve,” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said. She cautioned that the county is preparing for an uptick in cases once they do reopen.
They will reevaluate the application on June 10 before starting to reopen June 12. The county must stay in Phase 1 for a minimum of three weeks.
One of the new metrics met as of Wednesday shows that 95% of positive cases were reached within 24 hours to do contact tracing. Another was having enough PPE for healthcare workers. The only benchmarks & metrics not met yet include fulfilling the need to hire and train more contact tracers and increasing the availability of testing sites for under-served communities.
The latest COVID-19 report released Wednesday afternoon showed Multnomah County had 41 of the state’s 71 confirmed cases. The Oregon Health Authority said the surge in cases is tied to an outbreak at specific locations of a business operating in the Tri-county region and the Willamette Valley. Officials said there doesn’t seem to be any significant risk to the communities surrounding these outbreaks.
The update included remarks Public Health Director Rachael Banks, Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines and Emergency Management Director Chris Voss.
During her remarks, Vines encouraged residents to wear face coverings in public.
News that Multnomah County hopes to reopen on June 12 traveled fast.
“We are super excited because even though it’s a couple weeks away, it’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Cole Flora, a bartender at Portland Sports Bar and Grill.
Flora said the bar installed new sinks and plumbing lines and have a game plan for keeping customers six feet apart on the patio.
“We are going to get partitions that have Blazer-theme pendants on it to help rope it off and keep people from accidentally wandering through the patio or walking through,” he said. “Just whatever it takes to make sure we can still do business and make people feel safe.”
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