CURRY CO., Ore. – With triple digit heat in the valley and a holiday weekend fast approaching, coastal towns are preparing for travelers. While some areas are welcoming tourists with open arms, others like Bend are asking them to stay home. All this, as the Oregon Health Authority asks people to stay home and reconsider traveling this Labor Day.
“Nobody had symptoms during the trip. Nobody was sick. But four people were potentially infectious at the time,” the Oregon Health Authority starting their weekly teleconference call last week with a warning. They say 20 people went on a beach trip during the pandemic. Afterward, 12 tested positive for COVID-19. “Before they were diagnosed they had links to five workplace outbreaks. With a total of over 300 cases so far. While we can’t say those people who went to the beach house were the initial case, it does show the potential for these cases to spread very quickly,” said Dean Sidelinger, health officer with OHA.
With Labor Day approaching, Curry County Commissioner Court Boice, who’s also the tourism liaison for the local chamber, said they’re ready for tourists. “We have like perfect temperatures, we’ve got the jet boats running, a lot of folks on our beaches with very easy public access,” according to Commissioner Boice.
He says the county hasn’t had a new COVID-19 case in nearly two weeks. “We have a brand new 4 story hospital here. It’s tremendously well managed, it’s well staffed and so we’re ready for any kind of surge,” said Commissioner Boice.
Commissioner Boice says restaurants, bars and hotels have all been asked to be vigilant and he says, so far, they have. While some coastal residents have expressed concerns with Rogue Valley residents visiting, and potentially bringing COVID to the coast, Boice has no worries. “We just encourage our friends from the valley to come enjoy and be responsible and feel welcome,” said Commissioner Boice.