Multnomah County Planning To Apply For Reopening June 5

By OPB Staff (OPB)
Portland, Ore. May 27, 2020 2:11 p.m.

UPDATE (3:35 p.m. PT) — Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said Wednesday that the county is aiming to apply on June 5 for Phase 1 of Gov. Kate Brown's reopening plan.

If approved, the county then could begin the first phase of reopening on June 12.


“I wish we could declare victory and move on, but without a vaccine, we can’t,” Kafoury said.

She said the county is still working toward county and state level requirements for beginning the reopening process. Those requirements include hiring more contact tracers, making sure those tracers can work in needed languages to serve non-English-speaking community members and ensuring testing sites are accessible to underserved communities.

The county must hire 122 contract tracers, Public Health Director Rachael Banks said Wednesday. The county is at about 48% of that goal as of Wednesday.

Multnomah County is the only county in Oregon that has not applied to begin Brown’s reopening plan.

Washington County, also in the Portland metro area, is under review for reopening. All other counties in the state have been approved to begin phase one.

Portland Thorns to resume play in June tournament in Utah

All nine teams in the National Women's Soccer League, including the Portland Thorns, will travel to Utah for a 25-game tournament starting June 27. Matches will be played without fans.

Players, officials, coaches and essential staff will be tested for COVID-19 48 hours prior to departure for Herriman, Utah, and again upon arrival. They'll also undergo consistent testing and symptom review, the league said in a press release, living in an "NWSL village" throughout the 30-day event.

Salt Lake County, where Herriman is located, had 4,682 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, 426 hospitalizations and 70 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

Other sports leagues have considered similar "bubble league"-style returns. The NBA is exploring restarting its season at the Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

OHA investigating outbreak linked to Portland-area business

The Oregon Health Authority Wednesday reported 71 new known cases of coronavirus in the state, bringing Oregon’s total to 4,038 known cases.

That number includes both positive and presumptive cases. Presumptive cases are people who have not tested positive for the virus but have symptoms and have had close contact with a confirmed case.

OHA said it is working with local health authorities to investigate an increase of positive cases connected to an outbreak at locations of a business that operates in the Portland metro area and in the Willamette Valley.

Multnomah County had 41 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and “many of those are part of this outbreak,” Jennifer Vines, lead health officer for the tri-county area, said.

“The situation remains under investigation as health officials gather more information,” OHA said in a news release. “OHA expects more positive test results to be included in the state’s case totals over the next few days as test results are completed. More details about the outbreak, including location information, will be made available in coming days.”

The number of deaths associated with coronavirus in Oregon stands at 148, with no new deaths reported Wednesday.


Oregon COVID-19 Map

Jacob Fenton, The Accountability Project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop 

Clark County caseload swells after outbreak at fruit processor

Health officials in Clark County announced Wednesday that there are 533 confirmed coronavirus cases there, and 25 people have died.

The most recent available data from the Washington Department of Health show 20,181 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,078 known deaths.

Related: Outbreak Response Shows Clark County's Preparedness, Top Health Official Says

As of Wednesday, 106 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of an outbreak at a Vancouver fruit processor Firestone Pacific Foods, according to Clark County health officials. Seventy-four employees tested positive for coronavirus, four of whom aren't residents, and another 32 people identified as close contacts of those cases have also tested positive.

The outbreak prompted Washington to pause Clark County’s request to move to Phase 2 of reopening.

It may be the largest cluster of coronavirus cases  in the greater Portland metro area not linked to the health care industry.

Unemployment rates continue to rise across Oregon

The Oregon Employment Department reported Wednesday that each of Oregon’s 36 counties saw an increase in unemployment over the course of April.

Counties along the coast had some of the largest unemployment rate increases.

Lincoln County had the largest increase in the state last month. Its unemployment rate increased by more than 21% and now stands at more than 26%.

Clatsop and Coos counties also have some of the highest unemployment rates in the state, at 24.4% and 18.8% respectively.

Counties with the smallest percentage change in their unemployment rates since March include Wheeler, Morrow and Harney counties. Their unemployment rates have all risen by less than 5%.

The state’s unadjusted unemployment rate stands at 14.8%, the department reported.

Most of the Portland metro area remains below the state’s average unemployment rate. Washington and Clackamas counties are at 12% and 13.8%, respectively, while Multnomah County rests slightly above, at 15.7%.

Deschutes County is also above the state’s unemployment rate — at 18.2%, according to the department.