UMATILLA COUNTY — The timing of when Umatilla County will be permitted to move back to Phase 2 of reopening is up in the air after the state denied its appeal this week.
“I no longer have any forecast on when Phase 2 will happen,” Umatilla County Public Health Director Joe Fiumara said Wednesday, Sept. 2. “We were aiming for that three-week mark, which was next week. I can no longer tell that to anybody with any confidence.”
Umatilla County Commissioner John Shafer confirmed the county’s appeal was denied during a Sept. 2 conference call with Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger.
The governor’s office has not responded to a request for comment from the East Oregonian.
The county had appealed to the state to move into Phase 2 starting Friday, Sept. 4., but Fiumara said the state presented the county with a set of requirements before any appeal for Phase 2 will be granted.
“Where my understanding is for where we are right now, they are not going to allow Umatilla County to move to Phase 2 until such time that we meet all six public health indicators and our case rate for that week is less than 100 per 100,000,” Fiumara said.
Shafer noted frustration about the state including the prevalence of cases, determined by the number of cases per 100,000 people, and said he felt it was a “higher standard” the county was being held to for Phase 2.
In Phase 2, indoor and outdoor recreation and entertainment venues such as movie theaters and pools are able to reopen, in addition to youth clubs and playgrounds.
— This story will be updated.