LANE COUNTY, Ore. --- Lane County is currently meeting four out of the six requirements to get off the Gov. Kate Brown's watch list as of Thursday morning.
Lane County is doing well in terms of emergency department visits being COVID-19 related. The county is below 1.5% which is good progress, according to Lane County Public Health spokesman Jason Davis.
Davis said we are also seeing a downtrend in overall positive test results, percentage of new cases and hospitalizations.
The two requirements the county is still not meeting are the overall sporadic case percentage and count, which is due to their struggle to reach people within 24 hours.
The additional resources the county has received from being on the watch list has helped change people's willingness to comply with health officials and contact tracers.
Davis said 22% of people were being non-complaint when the county was first added to the watch list. The number went down to 14% but recently it went back up to 16%, so health officials are seeing an increase again.
"We're seeing people who are not complying with the phone call, they're not sharing exactly or fully all of their contacts and behaviors and that is giving us problems. So the Oregon Health Authority team is saying we've seen this as a success in other counties and this as a success, so why don't you try these sort of things," Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke said.
Davis stressed the importance of answering and staying on the phone with contact tracers. He said the county's ability to get off the governor's watch list and stay in Phase II requires full cooperation from the county.
"We really need people to answer the phone from public health. Not only will it help keep them safe but then when we are able to talk with them we find out who their contacts are, we can contact the persons who were exposed to them and we meet those metrics so we don't close down our society further," Luedtke said.
Despite the two outbreaks announced by Lane County on Thursday, Davis said we have seen a reduction in outbreaks. The recent outbreaks are tied to the Avamere Riverpark care facility and Eugene-Springfield Fire.
Davis said the community has done a great job with masking up and social distancing. Davis added that we have also seen a reduction in social gatherings and cases linked to social gatherings.
Lane County has been on the watch list for three weeks on Friday, which is the minimum amount of time needed for a county to be on the list. As of when the county will be taken off is still unknown.
Davis said the community still has work to do but it is within our reach. He told KEZI that the epidemiologist team that has been working with the county the past few weeks said the tide is turning in terms of non-compliance.