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County officials urge health precautions as reopening approaches

Jackson County has extended its streak to 17 days in a row with no new COVID-19 cases.

Jackson County Public Health reported no new cases Monday, keeping its total at 49, with no deaths.

The Oregon Health Authority reported three more deaths Monday, raising the state’s death toll to 130. OHA also reported 51 new COVID-19 cases in the state, along with seven presumptive cases, bringing the state total to 3,286 cases.

County health officials reminded people there is still no vaccine for the virus.

They said they do expect to see an increase in cases as Jackson County enters phase one of Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to gradually reopen Oregon.

Jackson County’s request to reopen was submitted last week and is under review by the Oregon Health Authority. If the county wins approval from the state, an easing of restrictions could begin as early as Friday.

Among other changes, restaurants would be able to resume dine-in service and hair salons could reopen, but businesses would have to follow a host of safety rules.

“As people begin accessing businesses in Jackson County and staying home less, there are still actions that everyone, including younger and healthy people, need to take in order to protect the health, wellness and safety of themselves, family, friends, workers at the businesses they are visiting, and others who are more likely to have severe complications from COVID-19 (people 65 and older, people in long-term care facilities and congregate settings, and all people who have underlying medical conditions),” county health officials said in a Monday statement.

They recommend that everyone wear a face covering while out in public, especially indoors where it may be hard to stay at least 6 feet away from others.

People should continue physical distancing, with 6 feet of space.

Continue to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if those aren’t available. Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands. Avoid touching your face, and sanitize surfaces frequently.

People at risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible.

“It will still be important that everyone stay close to home, avoiding overnight trips and minimize other nonessential travel, including recreational day trips to destinations outside the community where you live,” Jackson County health officials said.

State officials are asking the public to cooperate with businesses that have to follow safety regulations in order to be open.

Some businesses may adopt policies requiring customers to wear face coverings, and employees at some types of businesses will be required to wear face coverings.

Restaurants and bars must seat different parties at least six feet apart, and all food and beverage consumption must end by 10 p.m.

Hair salons can see customers only by appointment, must ask them about symptoms and keep a customer log in case anyone is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person and has to be tracked down by public health officials. Depending on the service being performed, customers may have to wear face coverings, capes and smocks.

Gyms will have to operate with physical distancing, and all businesses are expected to perform more sanitizing.

Phase one of reopening will last for at least 21 days as state officials monitor the situation.

If Oregon sees a flare-up of COVID-19 cases, restrictions could go back in place.

If counties are successful in holding down COVID-19 cases, contacting and tracing potentially exposed people and ensuring adequate stockpiles of personal protective equipment such as masks, they will eventually be allowed to move on to the next phases of reopening and see more restrictions eased.

Businesses can find documents and guidance about phase one reopening rules at govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Jackson County officials are urging the public to stay vigilant against COVID-19 infection.{ }