PORTLAND, Ore. — A draft version of Oregon's still-evolving plan for gradually lifting coronavirus restrictions, outlined in a PowerPoint presentation on Monday, includes criteria for a county-by-county reopening of the state if certain goals and commitments are met.
The document follows Governor Kate Brown's announcement of a framework for reopening the state last Tuesday, but is largely informed by a three-phase White House plan that was released on Thursday.
Like both plans — Governor Brown's and the Trump administration's — the new draft plan continues to hinge on a few basic but elusive benchmarks. The state would have to see a sustained 14-day decline in the number of new cases, adequate testing availability and hospital surge capacity, a robust system for contact tracing, and enough PPE to go around in the event of a surge.
While generally following the White House's three-phase plan, Oregon is considering several important changes. Under Phase One, Oregon could reopen more childcare options while schools and other organized youth activities remain closed. Instead of opening large venues like sports stadiums, theaters, and churches under strict social distancing protocols, Oregon is likely to keep those closed.
The Oregon document shows that state officials are still mulling the idea of reopening sit-down dining, gyms, and bars under Phase One. The state is also still reviewing the resumption of non-emergency procedures at medical facilities.
Importantly, the draft plan outlines a possible road-map for reopening individual counties that have seen relatively few or no cases of COVID-19. While the topic remains under discussion, the draft requirements include receiving letters from the leaders of local hospitals promising to report their daily PPE supply to the Oregon Health Authority and assure that they have a steady supply of necessary equipment, as well as adequate hospital surge capacity.
For a county to reopen under the draft report, the state would also need to receive a recommendation letter from the County's public health officer, and a vote from the County's leaders certifying that there is enough PPE for first responders.
The draft report says that measures for Phase Two and Three still need review by the Oregon Health Authority, the Governor's Medial Advisory Panel, and local public health officials.
Under Phase Two of the current draft plan, gatherings could increase to 50 people, non-essential travel could resume, and schools and gyms could open again under physical distancing measures.
In Phase Three, the mass gathering size would again increase, worksites would be able to lift staffing restrictions, visitors would again be allowed at nursing homes, and restaurants and bare could have more seating than social distancing guidelines would allow.
The presentation marks an intermediate step in state officials' formulation of a plan to reopen Oregon while staying vigilant for further cases of COVID-19, so these measures are almost guaranteed to change before a final plan is released.