Clackamas County Cases Increase by Nearly 200 Percent

Though a surprise announcement by the governor later that day made it a moot point, Clackamas County commissioners had previously agreed to delay their application for phase 2 reopening due to not meeting the state’s strict standards for declining case numbers and contact tracing.

To qualify for phase 2, counties must show flat or declining numbers of Covid-19. If there is an increase, it must be no greater than 5 percent. According to officials, cases in Clackamas County have increased by 191 percent during the most recent week of reporting, and no — that’s not a typo.

According to Oregon Health Authority data, Clackamas County recorded 94 new cases for the week ending May 31, after seeing only 27 new cases the previous week — an unprecedented spike that cannot be solely attributed to a new outbreak at the Marquis Hope Village Post-Acute Rehab center, which is now the largest active outbreak at an Oregon senior care home.

Though Multnomah and Washington counties also saw increases in that period from the previous week, neither were nearly as dramatic.

“The partnership between public health and the entire community can help us stay safe and return to a new normal,” Dr. Sarah Present, county public health officer, told commissioners Thursday. “We are responsible for doing everything we can to identify and control the spread of the disease in order to not overwhelm the health care system and, ultimately, to save lives. We need the help of the community to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The county is also in the process of training 30 new contact tracers who were hired this week. Another criterion for phase 2 is to ensure over 98 percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 are contacted within 24 hours.

The county encourages residents to help limit the spread of Covid-19 by observing appropriate physical distancing, washing your hands, wearing face coverings when out in the public, staying home when sick and cooperating with the recommendations of Public Health contact tracers if you do get Covid-19 or are a close contact of someone who does.

“We know that many want to get back work, see loved ones and friends in-person and enjoy some of our favorite summertime activities,” said Nancy Bush, Clackamas County disaster management director. “We appreciate everyone’s continued sacrifice and efforts to control the spread as we carefully consider the appropriate time to move into phase 2.”

The board will reconsider a phase 2 reopening application when the Oregon Health Authority releases the Covid-19 Public Health Indicators by county next week.

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