PORTLAND, Ore. — This week, Jackson County became one of two counties removed from Oregon's coronavirus "watch list," having successfully driven down community spread of the virus.
Governor Kate Brown's office made the announcement on Friday. Both Jackson and Jefferson counties came off the list entirely, while Umatilla County finally met the criteria to advance onto Phase II of reopening.
“I want to commend county officials and community members in Jackson, Jefferson, and Umatilla Counties for their efforts in curbing community spread of COVID-19," said Governor Brown. "Their work in reducing community transmission shows that we can reduce the spread of this disease if we all work together."
Jackson County joined the list on August 20. Under the state's guidelines, a county must stay on the list for at least three weeks before it can be removed — meaning this week was the earliest possible chance for Jackson County to be removed.
Counties are placed on the list when "sporadic" cases of COVID-19 — those considered to be community spread because they cannot be traced back to a source — reach a rate of 50 or more per 100,000 people in the county over a two week period, and there have been more than five sporadic cases within those two weeks.
"The County Watch List allows the state to prioritize resources and assistance to counties that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19," Brown's office said. "When a county is placed on the Watch List, the Oregon Health Authority increases monitoring and communication, and deploys additional technical assistance and resources, such as epidemiological support, case investigation, and contact tracing help."
Jackson County reached record high case rates in mid-August, but cases have been trending downward in the weeks since.
No counties were added to the state's watch list this week. Malheur, Morrow, and Umatilla counties remain on the list.