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Opening the community door just a crack – Watching Covid-19 very, very closely

Reopening Lincoln County –

Lincoln County Incident Management Team shares requirements and progress on reopening Newport 

Lincoln County, along with community partners has begun working on a local plan to reopen local business and recreation that will follow Governor Brown’s Reopening Oregon Framework. The plan will be developed in a way that makes sense for Lincoln County and submitted to the Governor for her approval. The Governor has provided draft guidance on how counties will reopen. She stated today that some counties may be able to enter Phase One May 15th. Most businesses closures were a result of state orders, not county or city ones. Thus, it is the state that has to lift those orders so that most businesses can reopen.

The current draft guidance provided by the state requires that counties meet seven requirements before a county can enter Phase one of Reopening Oregon. Lincoln County and its partners are working to ensure we are able to meet these entry criteria. These criteria are:

1.Declining prevalence of COVID-19: This metric only applies to counties with more than 5 cases. Lincoln County currently has 5 total cases, but only 2 active cases. If we increase our case count, we will need to verify the percentage of emergency department visits for COVID-19-like illnesses (CLI) are less than the historic average for flu at the same time as last year.

2.Minimum Testing Regimen: Regions must be able to administer COVID-19 testing at a rate of 30 per 10,000 people per week. In Lincoln County this would be approximately 150 tests per week. Our local healthcare system is able to do that now.  However, this metric is measured at the Health Region level, not at the county level.  An individual county cannot move into Phase One if regional hospital capacity is beneath that level.  Lincoln County is in Region 2 and includes, Yamhill, Polk, Lincoln, Benton, Marion and Linn counties. The region is meeting Monday to plan for this requirement.  In Lincoln County, Samaritan Health Services has expanded their testing capability to test all symptomatic patients with doctor’s orders at the Depoe Bay or Waldport sites. We are testing a-symptomatic people working in congregate care settings and their families.

3.Contact Tracing System:  Counties must have a minimum of 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 people.  Lincoln County has met this requirement.  Public Health has expanded training to additional public health staff and have begun taking names of volunteers for future training if needed. Also, the State of Oregon has committed to training 600 additional people to meet surge demand in counties.

4.Isolation Facilities:  Counties must have hotel rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.  Lincoln County has already been working on developing a solution for this but does not have this plan finalized yet.

5.Finalized Statewide Sector Guidelines:  Each sector must adhere to Oregon Health Authority statewide guidelines to protect employees and consumers, make the physical workspace safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.  These guidelines are being finalized by the State and will be posted on Lincoln County’s website.

6.Sufficient Health Care Capacity:  Each region must be able to accommodate a 20% increase in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations compared to the number of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region at the time Executive Order No. 20-22 was issued.  This metric is measured at the Health Region level, not at the county level. An individual county cannot move into Phase One if regional hospital capacity is beneath that level.

7.Sufficient PPE Supply  – All hospitals in the health region must report PPE supply daily to OHA’s Hospital Capacity system. Large hospitals and health systems in the region must attest to a 30-day supply of PPE, and rural hospitals must have a 14-day supply. This metric is measured at the Health Region level, not at the county level.  Counties must attest to sufficient PPE supply for first responders in the county. The Lincoln County incident management team has already set up distribution systems to long-term care, foster homes, jails and other facilities. A sterilizing machine will be ready next week in Eugene to clean N-95 masks. This benchmark is dependent upon stockpiling PPE. For more information on Lincoln County’s ongoing reopening plans, go to https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/hhs/page/reopening-lincoln-county

Kaety Jacobson – Lincoln County Board of Commissioners

Rebecca AustenChair – Health Department Director

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