July 27, 2021 statement regarding mask-wearing in light of new CDC and OHA guidance:
COVID-19 cases are rising in Washington County because unvaccinated people — who are not protected from the more contagious Delta variant — are becoming infected at higher rates. Virtually all deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. are among unvaccinated people. The best protection against the virus is vaccination, so we urge everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. Infections do occur infrequently in fully vaccinated people, but they tend to be mild.
Washington County meets the threshold of “substantial” spread as defined by CDC. For these areas, the CDC is recommending that everyone wear a mask in indoor public spaces — this is to protect children and others who have not yet received a vaccination and to prevent further spread of the virus. We agree with the CDC guidance and recommend that everyone in Washington County wear masks in indoor public spaces and get vaccinated to prevent further spread, more hospitalizations and deaths.
Framework and restrictions lifted
Effective June 30, 2021, the State of Oregon has lifted most COVID-19 restrictions. Masks, physical distancing and capacity limits are no longer legally required in many businesses and public settings; however, businesses can choose to keep restrictions, mask-wearing and other measures in place. Masks and physical distancing are still required in airports, on public transit, and in health care settings.
Washington County is in alignment with the Governor’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority about lifting the mandates. Masks are no longer required in County buildings, either by staff or visitors. Departments that manage congregate settings (e.g., jail, corrections) will enact department-specific mask policies that conform to federal requirements.
Although these protective measures are no longer requirements, they are still a great way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and other respiratory virures. We want to emphasize the value of wearing masks, especially for those who are not vaccinated or who have health issues that put them at risk for serious complications from any respiratory illness. The pandemic is not over. If you are not vaccinated, you are not protected from getting sick from COVID-19.
Business Recovery Centers
Washington County Business Recovery Centers help meet the short- and long-term needs of businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Business Recovery Centers provide a one-stop access to resources for interested Washington County businesses looking to re-establish and/or stabilize operations in response to COVID-19. These resources provide assistance in meeting Washington County and the State of Oregon health and safety guidelines, access to required health mitigation supplies, public and private financing programs, and additional business resource mapping. Four locations across the county in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Tualatin.
Public Health and Disease Control Guidance
Washington County Public Health is working to keep the community healthy by partnering with local businesses and employers. The Washington County Workplace Outbreak Form may be sent to employers to complete when two or more cases are identified at a worksite to assist Public Health with disease investigation.
Will Washington County notify us if an employee tests positive?
You may receive a phone call from Public Health to gather information to conduct contract tracing interviews to identify all locations the individual went while infectious. However, in most circumstances, Public Health will rely on the individual who tested positive to relay information to all individuals they have been in contact with.
If someone in your organization tests positive, you can download this COVID-19 response toolkit, which includes information on transmission, infection prevention and control, and what to expect if there is an outbreak at a facility. The guide provides helpful guidance on monitoring symptoms, implementing physical distancing, and when to allow employees to return to work.
Sick leave policies need to be supported and enforced. Physical distancing, face coverings and other measures to stop the spread of the disease need to be in place at all Washington County businesses.
If your business needs more information about measures that should be taken regarding these orders, please see the following pages:
What do we do if an employee tests positive?
Food service employees are required by law to tell their employer they tested positive for COVID-19. If an employee does not work in food service, they may self-disclose their illness to an employer, but they are not required to do so.
If an employee alerts you to their positive test result, you do not need to inform Public Health. We receive the information from the lab that performed the test.
As of November 16, 2020, OSHA requires employers to notify employees within 24 hours when they were exposed to or affected by an individual at work with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test.
OSHA also requires that employees be allowed to work at home during quarantine or isolation, if suitable work is available and their condition allows it. Workers must be allowed to return to their previous job duties at the end of their quarantine or isolation period.
How soon can an employee come back to work after they are sick?
Persons who test positive for COVID-19 are directed to stay home until the following things have happened:
- They have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine; and
- Other symptoms have improved; and
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
People who DID NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but tested positive and have stayed home may leave home under the following conditions:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive test for COVID-19, and
- They continue to have no symptoms (no cough or shortness of breath) since the test.
The decision to stop home isolation or return to work should be made in consultation with a health care provider.