Washington County Public Health supports governor’s new framework

Release date: 11/25/2020
Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Public Health Division

Washington County Public Health supports the new framework announced today by Governor Kate Brown. We are hopeful this new approach will be easier for the public and businesses to understand and will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon and in Washington County.

Like most of the state, Washington County is in the governor’s “freeze” through December 2. Due to our case numbers being over 300 per 100,000 residents from November 8 to November 21, we anticipate being placed into the “Extreme Risk” category starting December 3. You can visit the state’s website for specifics about what this means for gatherings, restaurants, gyms, recreation and more.

We empathize with community members who are frustrated and confused by the frequent changes and updates. Even after nine months, we are still learning more about this virus and need to continue to be flexible in how we react to it. But there is no doubt that the virus is surging, and our health care systems are on the brink of being overwhelmed. We urge you to fight off pandemic fatigue on this eve of Thanksgiving, when traditionally many of us would be traveling and gathering with extended family and friends. We can only repeat what we’ve been asking for the past few weeks:

  • Hold a virtual Thanksgiving instead of gathering in person.
  • If you do gather, keep it small. No more than six people, with only your own household if possible, but definitely no more than two households.
  • If you are indoors, keep windows open to circulate air.
  • Wear face coverings when not eating or drinking.
  • Protect your older family and friends.
  • Stay local.

Our public health system is at capacity. We are working hard, but we may not be able to keep up with outreach to cases and contact tracing. We need your help:

  1. If you are sick or have tested positive, please stay home and away from others. Take safety precautions to prevent spread of the virus within your own household. These measures include designating one caregiver for the sick person, having the sick person stay in a separate room or providing a barrier between the sick person and the rest of the family, and asking the sick person, the caregiver and household members to always wear face coverings.
  2. If you have tested positive or are waiting for test results, tell your close contacts right away so they can quarantine. It is recommended that close contacts quarantine for 14 days. A close contact is someone you spent at least 15 minutes with in a 24-hour period, within 6 feet, with or without masks, indoors or out. More guidance is available in the “After You Get Tested” handbook on our website.
  3. If possible, close contacts should get tested, but a negative test does not mean you can stop your quarantine. You can get sick at any time within the 14 days after exposure. There is no “best time to test,” but you should wait at least three days after exposure.

If you can’t work due to COVID-19 and need help with rent, groceries or other essentials, Washington County and our community partners may be able to provide financial and other assistance.

We know people are hurting – physically, emotionally and financially. Please know there is help available. The Washington County Crisis Line is answered 24/7 at 503-291-9111. Get connected to additional information and resources by calling 2-1-1.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Department Communications Coordinator