Portland, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced that Jackson and Jefferson Counties have succeeded in reducing the spread of COVID-19 sufficiently enough to be removed from the County Watch List. In addition, the Governor announced that Umatilla County has met the prerequisites to move to Phase 2, effectively immediately.

“I want to commend county officials and community members in Jackson, Jefferson, and Umatilla Counties for their efforts in curbing community spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Brown. “Their work in reducing community transmission shows that we can reduce the spread of this disease if we all work together.”

– County Watch List

Counties are placed on the Watch List when COVID-19 is spreading quickly and public health officials cannot trace that spread to specific sources—creating a potentially dangerous dynamic. Specific markers of this rapid community spread include when there is a sporadic case rate of 50 or more per 100,000 people in the last two weeks and the county has had more than five sporadic cases in the last two weeks (sporadic cases are those that cannot be traced to a source; they indicate community spread). Counties remain on the Watch List for a minimum of three weeks and until their sporadic case rates drop below these thresholds.

The County Watch List allows the state to prioritize resources and assistance to counties that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19. When a county is placed on the Watch List, the Oregon Health Authority increases monitoring and communication, and deploys additional technical assistance and resources, such as epidemiological support, case investigation, and contact tracing help.

No counties have been added to the Watch List this week. The complete County Watch List now includes the following: Malheur, Morrow, and Umatilla Counties.

– Umatilla County Moves to Phase 2

Over the past two weeks, (Aug. 23-September 5), Umatilla County has had a total of 252 cases for a case rate of 310.5 per 100,000 people. In the past week, the county had 107 cases for a case rate of 131.8 per 100,000. Excluding adults in custody, the case rate was 87.5 per 100,000, down from 109.7 per 100,000 over the prior week. Over the past two weeks, 17% of cases could not be traced to a known source, and the county has averaged 18 cases per day.

Because of these improvements in the county’s COVID-19 metrics, Umatilla County has been approved to move to Phase 2 of reopening.

OHA will be monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in Umatilla, Morrow, and Malheur counties, as well as throughout the state, and stands ready to work with the counties on the Watch List should any concerns arise.

Governor Brown added, “COVID-19 is still very much with us, and that all Oregonians play a part in helping keep their friends, families, and neighbors safe and healthy. We must continue to work together by physically distancing, wearing a face covering, staying home when sick, avoiding large gatherings, and washing our hands often.”