Wasco County was one of eight Oregon counties placed on a Watch List today, Friday July 3, by Governor Kate Brown because the spread of COVID-19 in these counties has risen to “alarming levels,” she said in a press release.
Wasco County has recorded 47 cases in the last two weeks, bringing the total to 89. Of the 47 cases, 50 percent were related to agricultural workplace outbreaks, 28 percent are spontaneous, meaning no known source, and 22 percent are close contacts of cases.
The Oregon Health Authority and local officials are deploying additional capacity to control the spread of the disease. If the counties do not see a downturn quickly, restrictive measures such as business closures or tighter gathering size limits will ensue, Brown said.
The Oregon Health Authority found alarmingly high per capita rates of increase in the counties in recent weeks, as well as community spread, which is cases where the infections are not attributable to a specific location or event.
Community spread is a serious warning sign for health experts.
Other counties added were Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla and Union. In light of a record 375 cases Thursday, Brown also announced today stepped up enforcement statewide on face covering, physical distancing and occupancy standards for businesses.
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be out in force doing spot checks to ensure businesses are complying with standards.
Those businesses found not in compliance face “stiff penalties,” the press release stated. Businesses the refuse to comply face citations, fines and Red Warning notices. Businesses with such notices are closed until hazardous conditions are remedied. Violation of a Red Warning notice results in stiff penalties.
Brown encouraged Oregonians to take urgent steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, avoiding large gathering and physically distancing.
Brown said the state stood at a crossroads over the July 4 weekend. “We can either stop the spread of COVID-19, or infections and hospitalizations will rise across Oregon and I will reinstate restrictive measures in impacted counties and business sectors.”
For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at 541-506-2600, visit us on the web at www.ncphd.org, or on Facebook at North Central Public Health District, or Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam County COVID-19 Information Center.