CORVALLIS, Ore. – Benton County has joined the list of counties on Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 watch list.
“It may be tempting to ‘point the finger’ at certain groups, whether it’s County contact tracing staff or college students but it’s not that simple. This is a metric our community has struggled with since reopening. It will take all of us to improve our community spread,” said Charlie Fautin, interim Health Department Co-Director.
County officials said data shows they are not meeting the sporadic case rate threshold. With a more than 58 per 100,000 sporadic case rate from Sept. 13 to 26, the county is over the Oregon Health Authority requirement of fewer than 50 per 100,000.
A sporadic case is one that does not have a clear epidemiological link to other outbreaks and indicates coronavirus is spreading uncontained.
“It is much easier to trace your exposure if your Saturday was limited to one trip outside of the house where you observed public health measures,” Fautin said. “However, it is substantially harder for County contact tracing staff to determine when you were exposed if you attended a gym class, went to the Farmer’s Market, made a couple non-essential trips on 9th Street, played in your neighborhood, and then met up with another family for a meal at a local restaurant.”
The county remains in phase two. Officials said being put on the watch list increases communication between public health agencies to determine what assistance or resources are needed. OHA will be assisting Benton County with contact tracing.
Clatsop and Malheur counties are also on the watch list.