Umatilla County returning to Baseline Stay Home limitations

Effective today (Friday, July 31) at noon, Umatilla County will go back to Baseline Stay Home limitations, following orders from Gov. Kat Brown issued to Umatilla County Commissioners on Thursday.

The definition of Baseline Stay Home, according to the state’s website, follows:

Stay home as much as possible. Businesses must have employees work from home if possible. Indoor and outdoor social gatherings are capped at 10 people. Civic, cultural, and faith-based gatherings are capped at 25. Grocery stores, retail, pharmacies, banks and credit unions, and gas stations are all open. Restaurants are take-out/delivery only. Must close: playgrounds, gyms, malls, pools, entertainment facilities, youth sports, spas, sports courts, and personal care services like salons/barbers.

This is the news release sent out by Gov. Brown’s office Thursday evening:

Governor Kate Brown announced today that Umatilla County will be moved from Phase 2 back to a Baseline Stay Home status effective tomorrow, July 31, at noon. Morrow County will be moved to Phase 1 status, also effective tomorrow, July 31, at noon.

COVID-19 has spread rapidly in the two counties over the past month. Both counties had been placed on the state’s Watch List on July 3 and received additional support from state public health officials.

“COVID-19 has spread dramatically in both Umatilla and Morrow Counties for the past month,” said Governor Brown. “My heart goes out to the families in Morrow County, Umatilla County, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation who have been impacted by this disease.”

Governor Brown continued, “If we do not act immediately, we could see the virus spread even more rapidly, infecting and killing more community members. I know that this is difficult news for business owners and working families in the region.”

COVID-19 Information for Umatilla County

  • Umatilla County has more cases of COVID-19 per capita than any other Oregon county, at 234 cases per 10,000 people.
  • The county has a weekly test positivity rate of 23%, far above the state average.
  • In the last two weeks, the county has reported an average of 51 new cases per day.
  • About 45% of cases in Umatilla County in the last week are sporadic cases that cannot be traced back to a known source.
  • COVID-19 spread in the county progressed from early outbreaks linked to social and family gatherings to outbreaks in large food processing facilities, as well as other agricultural settings, workplaces, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and among health care providers.
  • The Oregon Health Authority provided 7 case investigators and 29 contact tracers to Umatilla County on June 26, and has continued to support the county with case investigators and contact tracers since.

COVID-19 Update for Morrow County

  • Morrow County has 213 cases per 10,000 people.
  • The county has a weekly test positivity rate of 30%, far above the state average.
  • Morrow County has reported an average of 7 new cases per day over the last two weeks.
  • Roughly 52% of all cases from the last week were sporadic cases that could not be traced back to a known source.
  • The outbreak in Morrow County first began with social gatherings but that then led to cases linked to large food processing facilities and agricultural facilities.
  • The Oregon Health Authority deployed 2 case investigators and 1 public information officer to Morrow County on July 18.

“After weeks of trying other measures to get the disease under control, our only option is to temporarily close certain businesses and other community amenities,” said Governor Brown. “I am hopeful that these measures will help the community control the spread of COVID-19 quickly.”

These changes in county reopening status will be in effect for 21 days. The Governor’s office, along with public health experts, will review the situation and data on a weekly basis and act accordingly in close communication with county leaders.

In Baseline Stay Home status, the following measures apply:

  • All individuals should minimize all non-essential travel and stay at their home or place of residence as much as possible.
  • All businesses and non-profits must implement work-from-home or telework policies for employees to the maximum extent possible.
  • Civic, cultural, and faith-based gatherings are limited to 25 people.
  • All indoor and outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • Grocery stores and retail, museums, pharmacies, banks and credit unions, and gas stations remain open.
  • Restaurants must move to take-out or delivery only.
  • Gyms, malls, venues, indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities, and personal services businesses must close.
  • Recreational and youth sports are no longer permitted.
  • Pools, spas, sports courts, and playgrounds must close.

In Phase 1, recreational and youth sports, venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, and pools remain closed. Non-essential local travel is allowed. Personal services businesses are allowed to operate with health and safety measures in place. Restaurants and bars are open for dine-in service until 10 pm with health and safety measures in place. Indoor social gatherings remain capped at 10 people with physical distancing, with other gatherings limited to 50 indoors, 50 outdoors. This means that indoor gatherings, including faith-based, civic and cultural gatherings are limited to 50 indoors and 50 outdoors. Complete Phase 1 guidance is available here. And all statewide gatherings guidance is available here.