The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners today reaffirmed that the county is on track to begin reopening June 12.
Officials from the county's public health department told the board the county is making steady progress toward meeting the goals the state and board set for reopening. Multnomah County, the state's most populous and densely populated, will be the last Oregon county to reopen.
One example of progress toward meeting state benchmarks: The county now has 63 case investigators/contract tracers on board, which is 55 percent of the 120-tracer goal the state established. Kim Toevs, director of communicable disease services, said the county received more than 1,600 applications for contact tracing positions and expects to build its staff to 133 in a short time.
The county will also open a drive-thru testing facility in East County, with the goal of testing 80 people a day.
The board discussed one possible hurdle to reopening: a significant increase in COVID-19 infections as a byproduct of the large protests that have occurred over the past five nights.
From a public health perspective, the protests are worrying, says the county's health officer. "Our stay-at-home orders have been very successful," Dr. Jennifer Vines said. "But this is exactly what we've been trying to avoid, a whole bunch of people mixing together."
Given the incubation of period of the virus, officials expect to know by June 10, their last scheduled meeting before the proposed reopening, whether the county will still meet a key benchmark: 14 days of declining hospitalizations for COVID-19
"By next Wednesday, we might be seeing some consequences from the protests in terms of test results," Vines said. "We'll be looking carefully at the numbers and revisit them next week."