LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- With Lane County now on Gov. Kate Brown's COVID-19 watch list, the state is lending a helping hand.
The county on Friday joined four other counties already in need of some extra attention: Benton, Clatsop, Malheur and Umatilla.
Officials said being put on the watch list does have benefits. Some of the weight is taken off of Lane County Public Health officials’ shoulders as they work hand-in-hand with the state.
“They offload some of the work we are doing, so we can focus in and have work share,” spokesman Jason Davis said. “The other thing they really do well is increased data analysis for our cases, so really trying to make connections where it’s been hard to make connections so we can identify outbreaks and get down to the bottom of them.”
Experts with the Oregon Health Authority will be connecting with churches and other faith organizations where high cases counts have been coming from.
This type of outreach helps the county and those groups with tracking and case management.
With the increased data analysis allowing officials to make connections, outbreaks can be identified more easily, allowing for quicker action.
“Everyone needs to do their part,” Eugene resident Phil Hanna said. “Our biggest concern probably is the kids coming back to school. When you’re young, you think you’re immortal and it’s not going to hurt you at all. You don't think about passing it along to anyone else.”
Officials said that sporadic cases are higher than the county would like to see, so they hope OHA can assist with this as well.