CORONAVIRUS, Government, Washington County

Washington County added to COVID-19 ‘Pause List’

A face mask. File photo: Chas Hundley

Washington County and three other counties have been added to a new list of counties that will see restrictions placed on social gatherings and businesses beginning November 11, the office of Governor Kate Brown announced.

In a Monday afternoon press release, Brown said that Baker, Clackamas, Union, and Washington Counties would be added to the list, for a total of nine counties including Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Jackson, and Umatilla Counties.

“As we continue to see alarmingly high case rates reflective of sporadic community spread, now is the time to implement measures to further reduce gatherings and curb human contact,” said Brown. “The Two-Week Pause measures are designed to reduce the amount of people we interact with and the frequency of those encounters. We all must continue to do our part to stop this virus from spreading, particularly limiting our social gatherings and interactions, or we risk further closures and restrictions.”

Counties with a positive case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 positive cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people will be added to the list. 

Washington and Clackamas County do not yet meet those benchmarks, but Brown said they were added to the list because both counties are just under the threshold and both have seen large daily counts of new COVID-19 cases in the last few days.

For those counties on the list during those two weeks, businesses are asked to mandate work from home as much as possible, indoor visits at long-term care facilities will not be allowed, restaurant capacity will be reduced to 50 people — which includes staff and customers — for indoor dining with a maximum party size of six people. Take-out and outdoor dining will be encouraged. Other indoor activities, such as gyms, bowling alleys, and museums will also be limited to 50 people. Churches are not required to adhere to the measures. 

In-person social gatherings should be reduced, limited to one’s immediate household, Brown said, or to no more than six people if there are others not from the household present. 

“I am also calling on Congress to pass another COVID-19 relief package immediately when they return to DC—including another $600 weekly benefit in enhanced Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation—due to the increase of COVID-19 cases and the need for rollbacks both here in Oregon and nationwide,” Brown added.

On Monday, November 9, 723 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 were added to the rolls by the state, with 119 of those cases from Washington County. The death toll, according to the Oregon Health Authority, sits at 734.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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