Wasco County Commissioners COVID-19 Update 7/29

Wasco County Commissioners held their weekly pandemic meeting online this morning. They touched briefly on some of the conditions for school openings as announced yesterday by the governor. In order for schools to offer in-person instruction, three conditions must be met – two by the county, and one by the state as a whole. For the county, it means having a case rate of 10 or fewer per 100,000 population in the preceding 7 days and the percentage of those tested positive must be 5 percent or fewer in the preceding 7 days AND the state as a whole has to have a tested positive rate of 5 percent or fewer also over the preceding 7 days. By comparison, last week Wasco County had at tested positive rate of 5.9 percent and the case rate per 100,000 was 60.

There are a lot more questions to be answered, and Commission Chair Scott Hege put it this way:

“A lot of stuff is unanswerable. We’re just going to have to see how it pans out. And it’s new. It just came out yesterday, I believe. And then next week on our commission meeting, we are working on bringing some folks from the schools to join us for this part of it. So we’ll have a little bit more discussion on what’s going on in the schools – what their plans are, what their thoughts are, etc.”

One of the difficulties facing health workers is the length of time it takes tests to process. It can be as long as 8 or 9 days before results are available, which means people can go on spreading the virus, not knowing that they have it. There is good news coming, as North Central Public Health District physician Mimi McDonell reported:

“So at MCMC they’re hoping to have their testing machine onsite by mid-August, and we also hope they will have all the reagents they need to run the test. That would be a huge plus. Again that will be a point-of-care test so their turnaround time will be you know just an hour or so. So that’s really exciting.”

She also said that MCMC will soon be able to provide testing seven days a week, though they suggest that unless you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the virus, people shouldn’t take it.