County officials remain unsure about Phase 2 re-opening

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Jackson County Public Health announced 5 new cases of coronavirus in the county this morning.

After a bustling Memorial Day weekend with clear skies and warm weather, an increase in cases could mean the county won’t qualify to move into phase 2 of Governor Brown’s re-opening plans.

Jackson County Public Health officer, Dr. Jim Shames, told us Tuesday we could see more soon.

“If we were to see the impact of risky behavior over the Memorial Day weekend, we would expect to see the results of that next weekend,” said Dr. Shames.

Governor Brown says in her re-opening plan that counties approved for Phase 1 Re-Opening have to remain in the phase for at least 21 days before a potential move to Phase 2.

For southern Oregon counties, 21 days will land on June 5th.

The goal of Phase 2, she writes, is to further expand gathering size, allow some office work – along with allowing visitation at long term care facilities.

However, specifics are being worked out and will be based on data collected from Phase 1.

“We’re venturing out onto thin ice and we need to venture out carefully and cautiously,” said Governor Kate Brown.

Jackson County Commissioner, Colleen Roberts, says she believes the county is doing very well despite the new cases.

“Our county’s been excellent at what we did, I think businesses cooperated (even to their demise) and I think it’s time for our life to get back to where we run business and recreate,” Roberts said.

The governor’s prerequisites says evidence of increasing prevalence of coronavirus in a county, may lead to counties leaving Phase 1 and going back into the state’s stronger guidelines that we were in before reopening counties.

NBC5 News reached out to the Oregon Health Authority today for more details on the state’s restrictions and each particular phase, we haven’t heard back.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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