After a major outbreak of the coronavirus in early June, Lincoln County is trending in a more positive direction.
Cases spiked after an outbreak at a seafood processing facility in Newport. The county responded by becoming the first in the state to require face coverings in public and by ramping up its hiring of contact tracers.
Still, Lincoln County remains the only county outside the Portland area still in Phase One. It's also the only county west of the Cascades on a state watch list. Being on the watch list subjects the county to extra scrutiny from state public health officials.
County leaders including Commissioner Claire Hall don't object to the caution.
"It seems pretty clear to me that we are far from out of the woods on this," said Hall. “Rather than take three steps forward and then have to take two steps back, I would prefer that we continue advancing steadily but cautiously toward whatever our new normal turns out to be."
Last week, just one percent of coronavirus tests in Lincoln County came back positive. That compares to around five percent statewide.
Another encouraging development is that a second round of prevalance testing by Oregon State University indicated a much lower probably rate of the coronavirus in Newport in mid-July as compared to the first round in mid-June.