Governor Announces Updates to the County Watch List, Adds Clatsop & Benton Counties

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced that two counties—Benton and Clatsop—have been added to the County Watch List. This brings the total number of counties on the Watch List to three.
“With increased sporadic COVID-19 cases in these counties, the Oregon Health Authority is reaching out to provide additional support and resources to help county officials reduce community spread,” said Governor Brown. “These additions to the Watch List are a reminder that COVID-19 is still very much with us, and that we must not let down our guard. I urge all Oregonians to continue practicing the measures that health experts recommend for reducing the spread of this disease—wear a face covering, watch your physical distance, and wash your hands often.”

Counties are placed on the Watch List when COVID-19 is spreading quickly and public health officials cannot trace that spread to specific sources—creating a potentially dangerous dynamic. Specific markers of this rapid community spread include when there is a sporadic case rate of 50 or more per 100,000 people in the last two weeks and the county has had more than five sporadic cases in the last two weeks (sporadic cases are those that cannot be traced to a source; they indicate community spread). Counties remain on the Watch List for a minimum of three weeks and until their sporadic case rates drop below these thresholds.

The County Watch List allows the state to prioritize resources and assistance to counties that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19. When a county is placed on the Watch List, the Oregon Health Authority increases monitoring and communication, and deploys additional technical assistance and resources, such as epidemiological support, case investigation, and contact tracing help.

Governor Brown added, “Together, all of us play a part in helping keep our friends, families, and neighbors safe and healthy. With cold and flu season approaching, it’s also a great time to get your flu shot, to help make sure our frontline health care workers have the bed capacity and resources they need to continue treating COVID-19 patients.”

The complete County Watch List now includes the following three counties: Benton, Clatsop, and Malheur.