The Union County Reopening Plan was submitted to Governor Kate Brown’s office last week for approval. The reopening includes a three-phase plan. This does not mean that the County will be immediately reopening. Before Union County can begin phase one of the reopening, the following steps must be met:
1. Governor approval of the Union County Reopening Plan must be received to begin phased reopening. Shortly before the completed Plan was submitted, the Governor changed the requirements necessary for Plan approval. Union County is continuing work on the Plan in order to meet the new requirements.
2. Union County is grouped within a region of Eastern Oregon counties. As a region, each county must show a minimum COVID-19 testing capability based upon county population. Counties within this region include Hood River, Wasco, Gilliam, Umatilla, Sherman, Baker, Malheur, Wallowa, and Union County. Union County, for example must show the capability to complete 80 tests per week (which we can). This requires a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and those who came in contact with a known COVID-19 person and includes testing of all people in congregate settings when there is a positive test. This includes long-term care facilities and county jails. The Plan must also include frequent tests of frontline and essential workers and industries where workers may not be able to practice physical distancing. Testing and hospital capability will be measured at the regional level.
3. Union County must have a minimum of four contact tracers capable of tracing 95% of all new cases within 24 hours.
4. Union County must have non-congregate sheltering options available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and cannot self-isolate.
5. Union County must administer Oregon Health Authority statewide sector guidelines to protect employees and consumers. Phase One sectors include Childcare, General Employer, Outdoor Recreation, Restaurants and Bars, and Retail.
6. All hospitals in the health region (rural) must have and report daily on a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). This metric is measured at the region level, not the county level. County must also attest to sufficient PPE for all first responders in the county.
Union County remains at four confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which three have been classified by Oregon Health Authority as recovered. Wallowa County remains with one confirmed case, who has also been classified as recovered. Oregon Health Authority is reporting a total of 2,759 confirmed and presumptive cases. Total confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 for this region include Hood River (10), Wasco (13), Gilliam (0), Umatilla (70), Sherman (1), Baker (0), Malheur (13), Wallowa (1), and Union County (4).