Umatilla County has been approved to return to Phase 1 of reopening, according to Umatilla County Public Health.

The county will return to Phase 1 on Friday, Aug. 21. 

Counties must wait at least 21 days before moving to a higher phase, and Umatilla County was moved back to baseline status on July 31. The governor granted the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners' request to return to Phase 1 based on the county's improving metrics.

According to a news release from Gov. Kate Brown, since returning to baseline Umatilla County's test positivity rate has gone down from 32% to 18.8%. Its total weekly cases have gone down from 320 to 166 and its cases per 100,000 people have gone down from 394 to 205. The county's "sporadic" case rate of cases not able to be traced back to a source are down from 94 per 100,000 to 58 per 100,000.

"I want to acknowledge the efforts community members and local officials have made in Umatilla County to curb the spread of COVID-19 enough so that the county can return to Phase 1," Brown said in a statement. "As I've said before, reopening comes with risk, which is why we are taking a cautious, phased approach. As the county re-enters Phase 1, it's important that all community members continue to be vigilant and follow the orders and guidelines we've put in place to protect health and save lives, including watching your distance, wearing a face covering, and washing your hands."

According to the state's guide for reopening phases, under Phase 1, personal care services such as barber shops and salons can reopen, as can gyms and malls. Bars and restaurants can reopen for in-person dining until 10 p.m. Indoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Civic, cultural and faith-based gatherings are capped at 50 people. Physical distancing, masks and other requirements are still in place, and recreational facilities such as bowling alleys and swimming pools remain closed until Phase 2.

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