CORONAVIRUS, Health, Washington County

Washington County reopening fate now tied to Metro counties, Gov. Brown announces

A face mask. File photo: Chas Hundley

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Beginning Wednesday, June 24, face coverings will be required in all indoor public spaces in several counties, including Washington County, Governor Kate Brown announced Wednesday afternoon. 

Other counties included in the order are Multnomah, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln counties. 

Additionally, Gov. Brown also announced that three counties in the Metro region — Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah — will be considered one unit for the purposes of phase designations, which means Washington County will not be eligible to apply for Phase 2 reopening until at least 21 days after June 19, which is when Multnomah County will enter Phase 1, pushing that possibility well into July. 

“I know this impacts communities and businesses in Clackamas and Washington counties but, as we reopen our state, we must recognize how interconnected the metro area is,” said Gov. Brown. 

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“The next few weeks will be difficult, and we will be monitoring the data regularly. We are much better prepared than we were in early March. We have increased PPE, much more widespread testing, and many more contact tracers.

“However, if hospitalizations spike too rapidly, if the capacity of our health care system is threatened, we will be forced to revert to stricter rules.

“Our entire ability to reopen and stay open is dependent on whether each of us follows basic health and safety protections. Stay home if you feel sick, wear a face covering, keep six feet of distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands regularly. We truly are all in this together,” said Brown in a press release. 

The move comes after Oregon saw daily case count records broken and cases spike in Eastern Oregon’s Union County, where Oregon’s largest COVID-19 outbreak is attributed to a single church in Island City, east of La Grande. 

According to OPB, 236 Lighthouse Pentecostal Church members out of 365 tested returned a positive COVID-19 test. 

The church had posted multiple videos to their Facebook page of in-person church services with worshipers not wearing masks, standing and praying closely together.. 

The church has now removed the videos. 

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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