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Politics & Government

Lincoln County Delays Phase Two Re-Opening

Kyra Buckley

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners has voted to pause the county’s Phase Two re-opening until at least September 29.

It’s the second time the move to Phase Two has been delayed as the county continues to battle the coronavirus. The vote by the commissioners was unanimous.

Commissioner Doug Hunt said the change would allow public health officials to make a more informed decision. “I believe that would give us time for additional consideration to look at the impact of Labor Day, to look at the impact of flu season, and to try to get our schools open,” he said.

Lincoln is one of seven Oregon counties currently in Phase One of Gov. Kate Brown’s re-opening plan. All other counties are in Phase Two, which allows more types of businesses to open.

Lincoln County was a hotspot for COVID-19 in late spring and early summer, due in part to several workplace outbreaks. The case counts have stabilized and the county was removed from a state watch list in late July.

Commissioners in early August applied to move into Phase Two on August 24. But the Oregon Health Authority informed the county with just days to go before the anticipated advance that it would be delayed until September 8, pending the county's performance in several key public health metrics.

This time, the county decided not to wait to see if the state would allow them to move forward. Prior to the vote, Hunt said it's possible commissioners will delay the application for Phase Two yet again depending on where case counts are in late September, and how successfuly the county is tracing suspected contacts of people who've tested positive for the virus.

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