SALEM, Ore. — As the number of coronavirus cases in Jackson County continues to rise, Governor Kate Brown says that it has been added to the state's county "watch list."
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Governor announced that Marion and Wasco counties had succeeded in reducing the virus' spread, allowing them to graduate from the list. Jackson County was added onto the list, bringing the total number of "watch list" counties to eight.
“I want to applaud county officials and community members in Marion and Wasco Counties for their efforts in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. This is yet another example of how we can combat this disease by working together,” said Governor Brown.
Jackson County reported its highest-ever daily count of new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, following a record high case rate the week before.
According to Brown's office, counties are placed on the watch list when COVID-19 is spreading quickly and local public health officials have increasing trouble with tracing those cases to a specific source — what the Oregon Health Authority calls "sporadic cases," or ones caused by community spread.
"Specific markers of this rapid community spread include when there is a sporadic case rate of 50 or more per 100,000 people in the last two weeks and the county has had more than five sporadic cases in the last two weeks," Brown's office said.
Counties remain on the watch list for at least three weeks, until the sporadic case rates drop below those thresholds.
In the short-term, watch list status means that the OHA steps up its monitoring and resources for the county, including epidemiological support, case investigation and contact tracing assistance.
In some cases, when the spread of COVID-19 continues in spite of these measures, counties have been rolled back to a prior phase of reopening from Brown's "stay-at-home order."
"As always, I'm urging all Oregonians to continue abiding by state orders and guidelines, including maintaining physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and practicing good hygiene. Remember, we are all in this together," Brown said.
The complete County Watch List now includes the following eight counties: Baker, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Malheur, Morrow, Multnomah, and Umatilla.