MEDFORD, Ore. — All of southern Oregon's counties are submitting their plans for entering "phase one" of lifting coronavirus restrictions, pending approval from Governor Kate Brown's office.
Lake County officials signed off on a plan last Thursday, while Josephine County officials said that they submitted a plan to the Governor on May 1. Klamath and Curry counties submitted their plans on Wednesday of this week, and Jackson County indicated that it would have a plan submitted by Thursday or Friday.
Each of the plans hinge on where the counties stand in regards to COVID-19 cases. The Governor's plan requires that each county must testify to a downward trajectory of both flu-like and COVID-like cases, adequate hospital surge capacity, a steady supply of PPE, and a robust testing program.
While intermittent cases of COVID-19 continue to emerge in southern Oregon, there is no question that stay-at-home measures have "flattened the curve" — ostensibly giving each county a path toward reopening, assuming that the other required public health resources are in place.
The Oregon Health Authority has previously estimated that a minimum requirement for testing is a ratio of 30 tests per 10,000 people per week. According to Josephine County, it would need the ability to test 262 people per week by those standards.
"By combining all the regional testing facilities together, a conservative estimate puts Josephine County’s reliable capacity for testing at a minimum of 1,000 tests per week," the County's plan states. "This estimate considers the Asante figures as a Josephine-Jackson County regional resource, which is accurate to the way the system operates."
Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris indicated on Wednesday that they expect to begin phase one of reopening on May 15, barring unforeseen circumstances, because the Governor has indicated as much in communication with county officials.
Assuming that southern Oregon's counties do enter phase one on May 15, it's still uncertain what precisely it will look like. While Governor Brown has publicly outlined a vague framework for the state, and draft versions of more specific measures have been reported in the media, a final version has not yet been made public by Brown's office.
The proposals from each county include their own visions of phase one, which — for Josephine, Klamath, and Lake counties — includes the resumption of dine-in service at restaurants and bars; and the reopening of barbers, salons, and churches with different social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
To see each of the county reopening plans that NewsWatch 12 has obtained so far, visit the links below: