As the COVID-19 case count in Oregon continues to increase (524 new cases in the past two days) the once united front between Oregon’s three largest counties is fragmenting.
On June 25, the five-member Council of Washington County Commissioners wrote to Governor Kate Brown asking her to “consider changing your regional” pairing “with the counties of Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah.”
Brown previously stated that the three largest counties in the state should proceed to the later stages of the closing reopening process, although the counties of Clackamas and Washington began Phase 1 long before Multnomah County, the last in the state to reopen.
“In the coming weeks, when our region enters Phase 2, Washington County or one of our neighboring jurisdictions could overturn one or more of the criteria set by its office,” Washington County commissioners wrote on June 25.
“We cannot say firmly enough that a general policy that does not provide public health professionals with the continued opportunity to consider the facts presented at the time is a mistake.
“We ask that you consider each county’s situation and circumstances, based on your public health criteria, before requesting regional closure.”
The Clackamas County Council of Commissioners made a similar request on June 18, but Brown denied it, saying that, in light of the growing spread of the virus, all three counties had to stay in Phase 1 until July 10 at the earliest.
Brown spokesman Charles Boyle says the answer is the same for Washington County: there are too many interconnections and too many risks to allow counties to move at different speeds.
“The Brown government has been clear: given the current state of COVID-19 in the tricontea region of the Portland Metro, as well as the practical reality in which county residents often work or frequent other counties, the public health indicators of the three counties will be assessed as one region and the region will move forward (or not) in the process of reopening together, “Boyle said in a statement.
“The thing is, the three counties region is witnessing climbing case counts, as well as major outbreaks of congregation assistance. If county leaders and residents want businesses to remain open, we need everyone to do their part. to stop the spread of this disease, wear face clothing and keep a 6-foot distance in public, avoiding large social gatherings.
“If the Oregonians want their local shops, restaurants and cafes to remain open, they must do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We can all make a difference. The Brown government asks the Oregonians to take these precautions seriously. If we do not take these measures to keep ourselves safe, we will see hospitalizations increase rapidly We are seeing other states already overwhelmed by the increase in cases and hospitalizations This week Texas and Florida have started to shut down again.
“If county leaders want to see businesses in the tri-county region remain open and proceed further with the reopening, they must do all they can to ensure that face coverage requirements are met in their counties.”