News Highlights

July 8, 2020
Washington County Board Chair Kathryn Harrinton issued a statement about why Washington County will remain in Phase 1 of reopening under Governor Kate Brown's framework. Read the full statement.

July 6, 2020
In partnership with Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), applications for a second round of $3,000 grants for small businesses in unincorporated Washington County (outside cities) will be accepted starting July 8 and ending July 10. Washington County is providing cities with funding to create their own small business recovery programs. Like the County program, the cities’ programs will have a focus on businesses run by historically disadvantaged members of our community and those most impacted by COVID-19. Apply for the County program beginning July 8 here.

June 25, 2020
The Washington County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking that Washington County be considered separately from Multnomah and Clackamas counties should Washington County meet state public health criteria for moving forward to Phase 2 of reopening. As the letter states: "Public health officials from the counties and state should be given the opportunity to assess the need to move as a region on case by case basis, based on prevalence, morbidity and mortality in our individual counties and within the metro region. Regional coupling should not be an automatic course of business." Read the full letter.  

June 17, 2020
Governor Kate Brown announced new requirements related to face coverings and a new regional approach to reopening. Face coverings will be required in indoor public spaces starting June 24. Multnomah County moves to Phase 1 this Friday. And lastly, Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties will move together as a region for any further reopening progress. This means the earliest our county can enter Phase 2 would be July 10. Read the full press release. Read Chair Kathryn Harrington's statement in response.

June 12, 2020
Governor Kate Brown has paused all reopening applications for one week. The Governor's Office, Oregon Health Authority and our own public health staff are concerned about the increasing number of new COVID-19 cases, the increase in the percent of positives, and the percent of cases that are not linked to other known cases. Therefore, Washington County is delaying submission of our Phase 2 request. Next Wednesday, June 17, we will review our data. If our numbers have improved, we will talk with our board about submitting our application to the governor for a June 22 Phase 2 reopening. If not, we will continue to monitor and reassess. You can find our county's data here.

June 1, 2020
The Washington County government organization reopens for some in-person services, but public health requirements will be in effect and remote access to services is still encouraged. Read our news release.

May 28, 2020
Washington County has been approved to enter Phase 1 on June 1, 2020. See our press releaseLeer comunicado de prensa en español.

May 22, 2020
Washington County has applied to the state for reopening, with a goal of entering Phase 1 on Monday, June 1. Read our letter and application. See our press releaseLeer comunicado de prensa en español.

May 19, 2020
This Friday, May 22, we plan to submit our application to the state for reopening, with a goal of entering Phase 1 on June 1. Please note this is our PLAN and depends largely on our ability to hire and train enough contact tracing staff who are reflective of our community. We will keep you posted! Please keep wearing those face coverings and following physical distancing guidelines. Thank you!

May 15, 2020
Washington County Board of Commissioners approves reopening plan and contact tracing recruitment contracts. Board approval does NOT mean the County is ready to apply to the Governor’s Office for Phase 1. For more information, please see the media release. [Leer nuestro comunicado de prensa en español.]

May 14, 2020
Governor Kate Brown issued a new Executive Order 20-25 "A Safe and Strong Oregon: Maintaining Essential Health Directives in Response to COVID-19, and Implementing a Phased Approach for Reopening Oregon's Economy."

May 13, 2020
The community can keep track of where we stand on reopening on our reopening criteria status webpage.

May 8, 2020
Board Chair Kathryn Harrington issued a statement regarding Washington County's path toward qualifying for Phase 1 of reopening.

May 7, 2020
Washington County is working to meet Governor Brown’s requirements to apply for partial reopening (“Phase 1”). These include seeing a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations, increased contact tracing and testing, and providing resources for people quarantined at home. Learn more about the state’s plan (YouTube video).

May 6, 2020
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted on May 5 to revise the county code to extend the maximum number of days an emergency can be declared to 30 and to extend the current declaration to June 2. The board also read an equity statement regarding the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and the county's committement to equitable response and recovery actions. Read the media release and watch a briefing on the county's framework for reopening.

May 5, 2020
Oregon's first COVID-19 patient was discharged from the hospital today. We wish Mr. Calderon and his family the best! This wonderful story received a lot of great media coverage; KATU's story here.

May 1, 2020
Today Governor Kate Brown and public health officials unveiled new details of the state’s plan to ramp up testing and contact tracing as we move toward “reopening” Oregon. We understand Washington County community members are anxious to get back to “normal,” but we ask everyone to please stay the course by staying home, physical distancing, wearing face coverings if possible and all the other important measures you’ve been taking to help flatten the curve.

OHSU, the state of Oregon and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health will conduct a statewide COVID-19 research study to inform the approach for reopening Oregon. The goal of the Key to Oregon is to get people back to school and work faster while avoiding a second wave of infections. The study will include attention to vulnerable communities, including Native Americans and people of color. An OHSU research team will enroll 100,000 randomly selected Oregonians to voluntarily join the study. More information here.

April 29, 2020
Washington County held a virtual press conference to discuss the high percentage of Latinx community members affected by COVID-19 and our efforts to address these disparities. Read the media release in English and Spanish. Watch the press conference on YouTube.

April 22, 2020
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted on April 21 to extend until May 5 the county’s prior declaration of emergency regarding the response to the new coronavirus. Read the media release and watch the video briefing.

April 16, 2020
After multiple weeks of physical distancing, County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington underscores the importance of carrying on with Oregon’s Stay Home, Save Lives order. Watch the video

April 15, 2020
In partnership with Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) and funding non-profit Craft3, Washington County announces a grant and loan program to help small businesses weather the new coronavirus pandemic over the short-term. Up to $300,000 in grants and close to $875,000 in small and medium-sized loans may be available, particularly for businesses that have historically faced barriers to banking resources. Applications accepted April 15 to April 16. Apply here.

April 14, 2020
Governor Kate Brown holds press conference to discuss the "reopening" of Oregon. "The best path forward is a cautious one," she said. See her framework.

April 13, 2020
In a special edition of Tualatin Valley Community Television's "County Talk," County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington interviews Dr. Christina Baumann, M.D., Washington County's Health Officer, about when, why and how we should wear facial coverings. Watch the video here.

April 9, 2020
New symptom checker tool is available. It offers customized results and advice based on your symptoms and zip code. Washington County is a partner in this project.

April 8, 2020
Schools are closed for the rest of the year, per Governor Kate Brown. Remote learning continues. Read more here.

April 8, 2020
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted on April 7 to extend until April 21 the county’s prior declaration of emergency regarding the response to the new coronavirus. Read the media release.

April 3, 2020
FACE COVERINGS RECOMMENDED: Today the CDC released new guidance that recommends that all people wear a cloth face covering in public places where it's difficult to keep six feet of distance from others.

April 2, 2020
EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENDED: In a new executive order, Governor Brown has extended her statewide moratorium on evictions for nonpayment to cover non-residential properties. Read the news item.

April 1, 2020
RESPITE SHELTER: Washington County is partnering with City of Hillsboro and Comfort Inn & Suites to provide respite shelter. This shelter is for people experiencing homelessness and group home residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are symptomatic and need to be isolated. Read the press release.

March 31, 2020
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted to extend until April 16 the county’s prior declaration of emergency regarding the response to the new coronavirus. Department of Health and Human Services Director Marni Kuyl provided the Board of Commissioners with an overview of the county’s response efforts as part of her staff briefing. Read the press release

March 27, 2020
In a new video update, Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington describes Washington County’s response to COVID-19, including a working theory about why there are more cases here than in the rest of Oregon. Watch the video.

March 26, 2020
Oregon health officials and hospitals announced a joint statewide action plan to dramatically bolster the state’s ability to treat people with COVID-19 illness who need hospital care. New projections show social distancing must be maintained to protect health care system.

March 25, 2020
MESSAGE ABOUT OUR CASE COUNT: We know many of you want to know why Washington County has so many more cases of COVID-19 than the rest of the state. We share your concerns about the spread of this virus and are working around the clock to slow it down. We cannot say with absolute certainty why we have more cases. We do NOT have what some have called a “super spreader” or someone who spread the virus to a large number of people. In fact, most – more than two-thirds – of our cases are individual community cases, meaning they aren’t connected to another known ill individual.
We have a working theory as to why our numbers are higher. Washington County had the first case in Oregon, which we learned about on February 28. This means the virus had likely been spreading in our community before detection, so it stands to reason we’d have more cases. Another reason is that we have been vigilant to quickly identify close contacts to known cases, put them under monitoring, and then test at the first sign of illness. This results in more positive tests.
While we think Washington County is pretty special, when it comes to COVID-19, there is nothing special or different about our population in Washington County. Please remember that this virus does not discriminate. Anyone can get sick. Stigmatizing or avoiding certain groups of people is unfair and hurtful.
We know you are hungry for answers and accurate information. Please know how hard we are working to provide that for you through our website, social media accounts and video messages from our board chair. We respond to all media inquiries as thoroughly as possible without compromising patient confidentiality. As public servants, our main priority is to protect the health and safety of all members of our community. We are committed to doing this important work for as long as it takes. Thank you for doing your part by following Governor Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order. We are all in this together.

March 24, 2020
 Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order on March 22 forbidding law enforcement officers in Oregon from acting on any notice or order to evict people from residential properties for nonpayment of rent. The executive order, which will be in effect for 90 days, was enacted at the request of several local and state officials, including the chairs of the elected boards of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Read the news item.

March 23, 2020
STAY HOME ORDER. Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-12, directing everyone in Oregon to stay at home to the maximum extent possible and adding to the list of businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. The order is effective immediately and remains in effect until ended by the governor. 

March 22, 2020
Two of the 24 COVID-19 cases announced in Washington County in the last two days are residents at a long-term care facility. Read the press release.

March 22, 2020
Oregon reports 24 new COVID-19 cases; announced funding for Local Public Health and Tribes. Read the press release.

March 20, 2020
HELP FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS. Loans and other support are available to businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19. Read the press release.

March 19, 2020
COUNTY NEWS. Washington County urges public to conduct business by phone or email. Most County offices are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read the press release.

March 18, 2020
Washington County has reported its first death due to COVID-19. Our heartfelt sympathies to the family during this sad time. Read the press release.

March 17, 2020
SCHOOLS CLOSED THROUGH APRIL 28. The governor has extended the mandatory school closure through April 28. Read the Executive Order for full details.

March 16, 2020

  • Statewide cancellation of all events and gatherings larger than 25 people (grocery stores, retail stores, workplaces are exempted) for at least four weeks
  • Restaurants, bars and other establishments that offer food or beverages are restricted to carry out and delivery only, with no onsite consumption.
  • All other businesses should evaluate practices and consider take out options. If their business model doesn't support it, they should consider closing their doors to customers temporarily.
  • The governor also encouraged people to avoid all gatherings of more than 10 people.

March 14, 2020
LIBRARY NEWS. From Washington County Cooperative Library Services: Each of our libraries is currently evaluating how to respond to COVID-19 and determining the best course of action when it comes to ensuring public safety and serving their community. At this time, many WCCLS libraries have made the difficult decision to close to the public. The most current information on closures will be posted on their website.

March 13, 2020
SCHOOLS CLOSED. Governor Kate Brown orders all Oregon public schools K-12 to close from March 16-31. "I want to be very clear: sending Oregon children home will not stop the spread of the coronavirus. While children are home, when at all possible, they should not be in the care of older adults or those with underlying health issues that are most at-risk from COVID-19." Read the press release. Here is important guidance from public health on what to do while school is out to prevent further spread of illness.

March 12, 2020
SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES. Governor Kate Brown announced urgent new SOCIAL DISTANCING rules to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read the governor's new measures on coronavirus response and the press release for more details. Additionally, here is detailed guidance for various groups:

We understand that canceling fundraisers and other events can be hard on community organizations, but the health and safety of those who live and work in Washington County remains our top priority.

March 8, 2020
OHA adds seven new presumptive positive cases, bringing Oregon’s COVID-19 count to 14. Five of these new cases are in Washington County. Read the press release from the Oregon Health Authority.

March 8, 2020
State agencies issue COVID-19 guidance to Oregon schools and universities. At this time, the guidance recommends against closing schools and campuses where no cases of COVID-19 are present. It also recommends that schools, colleges and universities consider all alternatives before closing a school, college or university in the event that a COVID-19 case is detected among students or staff. The guidance identifies important strategies educational administrators can use to reduce the risk of COVID-19 within a school community and protect students from lost instructional time. For more information, read the press release from the Oregon Health Authority.

March 7, 2020
Oregon health officials have identified four new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 among residents in Jackson, Klamath and Washington counties. One of the new cases is in Washington County. This case was identified in the course of our ongoing investigation. Read the press release from the Oregon Health Authority.

March 4, 2020
The Board of County Commissioners adopted an emergency declaration today allowing Washington County personnel greater flexibility and support as they work with partner agencies and the public to contain and prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus causing the disease known as COVID-19. Read the press release and watch the video here.

March 1, 2020
The Oregon Health Authority announced the second presumptive case of COVID-19 in Oregon. The second case is a Washington County resident who is an adult household contact of the initial presumptive positive case. The second adult did not require medical attention. The individual was identified as a contact of the first person during the public health investigation. The individual remains isolated at home. Read the press release from the Oregon Health Authority.

February 28, 2020 
There is one presumptive case of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Washington County. We are awaiting confirmatory lab results from the CDC. We understand this will raise concern, as the news hits close to home. Public Health staff are working to identify and contact everyone who is at highest risk -- those who have had close, prolonged contact with the ill person. We will keep the public informed and this web page updated as our investigation continues. Read the press release from the Oregon Health Authority.

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