Jefferson County off COVID Watch List
Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday, Sept. 11, that Jefferson County was no longer on the County Watch List for its COVID-19 rates, the day after the county had its eighth death due to the disease.
Jackson County was also taken off the list, and Umatilla County met the prerequisites to move to Phase 2 of reopening.
"I want to commend county officials and community members in Jackson, Jefferson and Umatilla counties for their efforts in curbing community spread of COVID-19," Brown said. "Their work in reducing community transmission shows that we can reduce the spread of this disease if we all work together."
A 64-year-old man from Jefferson County tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 5 and died Thursday, Sept. 10, at St. Charles Bend. He had underlying conditions, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
COVID-19 deaths of Jefferson County residents
1. A 77-year-old woman tested positive on June 30 and died July 23 at St. Charles Bend.
2. A 64-year-old woman tested positive on July 14 and died on July 27. The location of her death was not reported at the time.
3. An 82-year-old woman tested positive on July 20 and died on July 26. The location of her death was not reported at the time.
4. A 75-year-old man tested positive on July 10 and died on Aug. 5 at St. Charles Bend.
5. A 71-year-old man tested positive on Aug. 6 and died on Aug. 14 at St. Charles Bend.
6. A 75-year-old man tested positive on July 28 and died on Aug. 15 at St. Charles Bend.
7. A 55-year-old man tested positive on June 26 and died on Aug. 25 at St. Charles Bend.
8. A 64-year-old man tested positive on Aug. 5 and died on Sept. 10 at St. Charles Bend.
County Watch List
Counties are placed on the Watch List when COVID-19 is spreading quickly and public health officials cannot trace that spread to specific sources — creating a potentially dangerous dynamic. Specific markers of this rapid community spread include when there is a sporadic case rate of 50 or more per 100,000 people in the past two weeks and the county has had more than five sporadic cases in the past two weeks. Sporadic cases are those that cannot be traced to a source; they indicate community spread. Counties remain on the Watch List for a minimum of three weeks and until their sporadic case rates drop below these thresholds.
The County Watch List allows the state to prioritize resources and assistance to counties that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19. When a county is placed on the Watch List, the Oregon Health Authority increases monitoring and communication, and deploys additional technical assistance and resources, such as epidemiological support, case investigation, and contact tracing help.
Malheur, Morrow and Umatilla counties are now the only counties on the list.
"Jefferson County was one of the first counties identified in the initial Watch List on July 3, 2020," said Jefferson County Public Health Director Michael Baker via email. "Counties are required to remain on the list for a minimum of three weeks. In order to be removed from the Watch List, communities must be able to demonstrate a reduction of sporadic or community wide spread of the illness. This is measured as less than 50 sporadic cases per 100,000 or less than five cases total.
"The date for the weeks under review (Aug. 23 through Sept. 5), showed an overall case rate of 25.5 per 100,000," he said. "The number of new cases in Jefferson County has declined over the last three weeks, along with COVID-19 hospitalizations and related deaths.
"Currently no one is hospitalized from Jefferson County," Baker continued. "The new cases have been tied more to social family gatherings and not the sporadic community spread as we've seen before due to workplace outbreaks such as pubs and grocery stores.
"Removal from the Watch List has special meaning for Jefferson County as the effort was truly countywide," Baker said. "It highlights the need of everyone doing their part to help the county move forward."
The number of cases in Jefferson County has declined significantly over the past several weeks. There were 14 active cases the week of Aug. 30, down from a high of 59 the week of July 19. The county's case rate per 100,000 people was 59, which is significantly higher than the rate required to reopen schools. And that lower rate would have to be maintained for at least three weeks. The percentage of those testing positive was 7%, which is also higher than the school reopening requirement. But it was much lower than 17.3% the week of July 19.
As of Friday, Sept. 11, the county had had a total of 482 positive and presumed positive cases of COVID-19.
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