Coronavirus Update: First Phase of Reopening Oregon

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Coronavirus Update: First Phase of Reopening Oregon

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today, Governor Brown and state public health leaders held a news conference to present more details on how the gradual reopening of the Oregon economy will roll out.

In short, a county or region can apply, starting tomorrow, to begin Phase 1, and that first phase could start as early as next Friday, May 15. Reopening plans will be approved if they can demonstrate that the county or region has:

  • Fewer people getting sick;
  • A 14-day decline in hospitalizations;
  • Resources to isolate those who are sick (15 contact tracers per 100,000 people);
  • The ability to trace 95% of contacts in 24 hours through contact tracing, and the tracing must be culturally and linguistically competent;
  • Adequate testing (30 tests per 10,000 people per week) and accessible testing for underserved communities; and
  • Sufficient health care capacity (hospital bed surge capacity and personal protective equipment).

These prerequisites must be met before a county or region can enter Phase 1 of Reopening Oregon. The specific details can be found here.

Further guidance is available below for the following groups and activities:

Reopen Oregon Phase 1 5-7-2020

This is not without risk. Coronavirus is still very much a deadly threat, which we can’t afford to lose sight of as this gradual approach takes shape. Data shows we have cut our infection rate by 70% and prevented as many as 70,000 infections and 15,000 hospitalizations by our collective adherence to Stay Home, Save Lives. It’s because of this that Oregon has the fourth-lowest infection rate and eighth-lowest death rate in the nation.

Ultimately, physical distancing, face coverings, and other behaviors will be our collective responsibility for many more months until a vaccine or treatment is widely available.

Here are guidelines for the general public as you do your individual part to reopen the economy:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • To avoid exposure to COVID-19, people who are at risk for severe complications (over age 60 or have underlying medical conditions) should stay home even if they feel well.
  • If you become symptomatic (cough, fever, shortness of breath) while in public, please return home and self-isolate immediately. Contact your health care provider if you need medical attention.
  • Practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol content).
  • Cover coughs/sneezes with elbow or tissue. If you use a tissue, immediately discard the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Practice physical distancing of at least six (6) feet between you and people who you do not live with.
  • Use cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings in public. As Oregon is reopening and restrictions are being lifted on businesses and public spaces, it may be difficult to ensure that you can stay six (6) feet away from others at all times.
  • Stay close to home. Avoid overnight trips and minimize other non-essential travel, including recreational day trips to destinations outside the community where you live. Travel the minimum distance needed to obtain essential services. In rural areas, residents may have to travel greater distances for essential services, while in urban areas, residents may only need to travel a few miles for those services.

These last two months have been the hardest many of us have ever faced. As we attempt to move forward, I hope that we will continue to empathize with each other, assume good intent, and not forget the more than 100 Oregonians who have lost their lives – as well as the tens of thousands across the country and hundreds of thousands across the world who have died. We honor them if we live with purpose and collective conviction to stay healthy.

The Latest News

  • Large gatherings and sporting events with large crowds are to remain banned through the end of September. The Oregonian has more details here and here.
  • In light of the above news, the Oregon State Fair Council announced today that this year's Oregon State Fair is officially canceled.
  • The Oregon Health Authority announced 70 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 2,957. There are also three new presumptive cases. Sadly, six more individuals have died, meaning 121 Oregonians have now died of the coronavirus.

OHA COVID-19 Update 5-7-2020

OHA Hospital Capacity 5-7-2020

Flyover Warning

If you hear loud noises in the air tomorrow morning, don’t panic. The Oregon Air National Guard is organizing a flyover of local hospitals in support of frontline health care workers. The Oregonian has more details on timing here.

Historical Perspective and Current Affairs

The Navajo Nation has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with a higher mortality rate from the virus than all but six states in the country. I would recommend this article in The Atlantic by University of Oregon history professor Jeffrey Ostler, detailing the oppressive policies that have historically led to greater vulnerability to disease in Native American communities. Professor Ostler has also written a book called Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas.

Hat tip to the Oregon Historical Society’s #ThrowbackThursday E-Digest from today.

One More Dog Photo

Yesterday, I shared guidance from the Oregon Health Authority about how to protect your pets during the pandemic, along with a photo with our dog Teddy. Well, Rudy was feeling left out.

So, here he is, hard at work.


To read past newsletters, you can go to this link. For up to date information, please check this link to the Oregon Health Authority where regular updates are posted:

Please email me at if you have specific concerns that have not been addressed by the OHA. Our office will do all we can to help and protect all Oregonians.

Thank you for reading! We will get through this together.

We are in this together, we will get through this together: United Oregon



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301