News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Brown planning phased ‘reopening’

Oregonians may have a clearer picture of a roadmap to recovery during the first week of May.

A presentation by Governor Kate Brown dated April 20 lays out a tentative three-phase plan for lifting “Stay At Home, Save Lives” restrictions, a plan that is expected to be more fully lined out during the week of May 4. The presentation keys off of Trump administration guidelines that say that “reopening” requires downward trajectories during a 14-day period of influenza-like illnesses, COVID-19-like cases, of documented cases or of positive tests as a percent of total tests. They also call for “surge capacity” in healthcare systems and “robust testing and contact tracing.”

Brown’s presentation indicates that metrics would be modified to reflect conditions in rural counties that have few or no confirmed cases. Counties would be able to request opening with positive recommendations from county health authorities and local hospitals and a vote of the governing body certifying hospital capacity and sufficient personal protective equipment for first responders.

Phase 1 begins at the Governor’s direction after all case status and health system preparedness criteria are met.

As it stands now, Brown’s plan would likely keep sports arenas, churches, bars and gyms closed through phase one. A work group is to prepare a plan for allowing sit-down dining. People out in public, including parks and outdoor recreation areas, would be encouraged to maximize physical distance from others. Workers would be encouraged to continue teleworking wherever possible.

If health criteria hold for 14 days after initiating Phase 1, the state could then move on to Phase 2, where gathering sizes could go to 50 and non-essential travel could resume. Gyms and bars could reopen in Phase 2, with physical distancing requirements. Phase 3 would allow an unspecified increase in permitted size of gatherings, unrestricted staffing at worksites; visitors could be allowed at nursing homes and bars and restaurants could have more seating.

Each phase is dependent upon the continued downward trend of cases.

A tentative timeline extrapolated from the presentation appears to have Oregon moving toward the initiation of a Phase 1 reopening somewhere around the third week in May, with subsequent phases initiated no earlier than 14 days after successfully moving through the previous phase. That would place Phase 3 possibly initiating somewhere around mid-to-late June.


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