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Malheur County last to remain on Brown’s coronavirus watch list – OregonLive


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Oregon Governor Kate Brown toured the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem Saturday afternoon, where she spoke with volunteers and evacuees. Brown also toured the animal facility where evacuated animals are being kept. She also met privately with county commissioners and other officials. September 12, 2020. Beth Nakamura/Staff

Gov. Kate Brown removed Umatilla and Morrow counties from a coronavirus watch list Friday, leaving Malheur as the only jurisdiction in Oregon at risk of facing renewed business restrictions if spread does not improve.

Brown said Umatilla and Morrow counties made sufficient gains, and she allowed Morrow to move back to Phase 2 of reopening to ensure residents can obtain in-person behavioral health counseling. Umatilla was already in Phase 2.

“I want to commend county officials and community members in Umatilla and Morrow counties for stepping up and working together to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Brown said in a statement about the eastern Oregon counties, which touch the Washington border.

State officials did not see necessary progress in Malheur County along the Idaho border.

Malheur County recorded746 cases per 100,000 people during the previous two weeks. That was by far the most in the state. Nearly half of Malheur’s cases were sporadic, meaning public health officials could not identify the source of infection.

Malheur is now the only county on Brown’s watch list. It will remain there until sporadic cases dip below 50 per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, something officials acknowledge will be difficult given high case counts in Idaho and the frequency of cross-border travel.

The ZIP code for Ontario in Malheur County hasled Oregon for several weeks in new coronavirus cases.

— Brad Schmidt;[email protected]; 503-294-7628; @_brad_schmidt

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