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The county numbers have dropped enough that a status quo number for one more week would result in possibly reopening all K-12 schools by mid-September

COVID-19 has begun to decline across the state, and Crook County is no exception.

According to Vicki Ryan, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Crook County Public Information Officer for the Crook County Health Department, Crook County has only had one new COVID case in the past week and a half.

As of Thursday, Sept. 3, there were three COVID-19 patients in the Bend hospital and two of them were in the ICU on ventilators. On Wednesday, Sept. 2, there was only one new positive COVID-19 case in the tri-county area.

The state's positivity rate dropped to 4.4% the week of Aug. 23 to Aug. 29, which is below the target of 5% for all students to return to classroom instruction. Counties need to meet this metric three weeks in a row to have all students return to the classroom. Based on the metrics for Crook County, all schools K-12 could return as soon as Sep. 14.

The state also corrected the metrics downward from the week of Aug. 16 to 5%. That means if the state's test positivity rate stays below 5% for one more week, the Crook County School District could begin the process of bringing all students back.

In a recent news release just prior to Labor Day, President and CEO of St. Charles Joe Sluka said, "While we are all tied of this new reality, especially as we head into a holiday weekend, we must also keep it up," he said of the need to wash hands often, wear masks and physical distance.

He went on to say, "As kids do start to return to in-person classrooms in some areas, we could see cases rise. We are heading toward flu season. Continuing these protective measures will only help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the flu – all of which keeps our hospital beds open for patients who need us most."

"Because the state changed their reporting mechanism for recovered, we still show 27 active cases," said Ryan. "The majority of the 27 active cases showing on the state dashboard have done their required monitoring and will be dropping off soon."

Ryan elaborated that previously, the state required that an individual who tested positive be quarantined for 14 days, under which time they were under isolation. After isolation, 72 hours after they had not shown any symptoms or fever, they were dropped off the numbers.

The new reporting mechanism by the state involves a full course before dropping off the numbers. The presumptive cases are 30 days, and Ryan said a confirmed case requires the full length of time (approximately 45 to 60 days). The state dashboard to break down the details for each county can be found at https://geo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/d546d7bc91d3478d91f628fb85bfe8de.

As of Friday, Sept. 4, the state dashboard numbers for Crook County were 27 active cases, 27 cases recovered, 55 cumulative cases and one death. Crook County's population is currently 20,978, which makes the percentage of affected cases .26%.

Deschutes County had 66 active cases, 698 cumulative cases and 621 recovered cases. They have had 11 deaths, and their population is currently 157,733. The percent of affected in Deschutes County is .44%.

Also, as of Friday, Jefferson County had 204 active cases with a cumulative of 467 cases and 256 recovered. They have had seven deaths, and their population is currently 21,720, with a percentage of 2.15 of affected residents in Jefferson County.

Ryan explained active cases indicate individuals who have quarantined and isolated the required 14 days or until their symptoms have subsided and they are fever-free. She added that they do not have to test back out at the end, but she indicated that they monitor them, talk to them, and get an update on how they are feeling and their temperatures.

"Once it's determined that they are clear and free, then they are released to rejoin the public."

Ryan emphasized that right now, the more important message is to continue to remind people to be safe. There was a great deal of concern during this past Labor Day holiday weekend.

"It's a time when a lot of people come together—and they go camping, they have family gatherings and barbecues, so because the threat is still there, we still need to be diligent in keeping our loved ones safe," she concluded.

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State dashboard for Oregon Health Authority:

https://geo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/d546d7bc91d3478d91f628fb85bfe8de


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