Increase in Coronavirus Cases in Tillamook County – Support for Governor’s Freeze Order to Reduce Spread of COVID-19

From: Tillamook County Community Health Centers, Dr. Melissa Paulissen, Health Officer; Marlene Putman, Administrator
Tillamook County Board of Commissioners, Bill Baertlein, Mary Faith Bell, David Yamamoto

(TILLAMOOK, OR. November 17, 2020) Tillamook County has seen a sharp increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. As for the week ending November 14th, 2020, a total of 114 positive and presumptive cases* have been confirmed within the county, accounting for a positivity rate of 6.2% within the county. The state of Oregon has also seen a record number of cases statewide, with some daily totals reaching over 1,000 new cases per day. Currently, Oregon is experiencing a 12.5 % positivity rate of persons infected with COVID-19 during the same week ending November 14th. If measures are not implemented to slow the spread of transmission of COVID-19, the trajectory of positive cases will continue to climb rapidly.

*NOTE:  Tillamook County currently has 109 positive/presumptive cases (11/18/20, OHA) total; the higher count above attributes all positive tests conducted here the week ending 11/14/20.  Several of the positive cases were residents of other counties, and therefore the case count is adjusted to only include positive/presumptive cases for residents of Tillamook County.  It is important to note that there can be discrepancies as the data is aggregated at particular points in time.  The Pioneer has been striving to be as accurate as possible with tracking daily case counts and verifying information with the county.

Concern also exists within the state’s hospital infrastructure will run out of available Intensive Care Unit beds. As of November 14, 2020, there were a total of 41 available ICU beds out of 357 total ICU beds in Northwest Oregon, the region including Tillamook and the Portland metro area. Without additional safety measures in place to limit the spread, the state’s ICU capacity around the state will be reached.

Recently, Governor Brown took steps to institute a Two-Week Freeze statewide to limit actions that would contribute to the spread of the virus. Such actions included the following:

  • Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.
  • Limiting faith-based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.
  • Limiting eating and drinking establishments to take-out and delivery only.
  • Closing gyms and fitness organizations.
  • Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.
  • Closing zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
  • Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).
  • Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
  • Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities (outdoor visitation permitted for supporting quality of life).

Tillamook County Commissioners and Tillamook County Community Health Centers (aka Tillamook County Health Department) is in support of Governor Brown’s actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the county. TCCHC has limited capacity to conduct contact tracing and community testing and requests county residents abide by the actions listed above during the Two-Week Freeze. Understandably, we know how difficult this can be, especially at a time when families and friends are gathering for Thanksgiving and holidays, but with everyone’s cooperation, we can work to reduce the amount of spread of COVID-19.