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LANE COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Lane County was added to Oregon's COVID-19 watch list on Friday, bringing the total number of counties on the list to five.

The complete watch list includes Benton, Clatsop, Lane, Malheur and Umatilla counties.

“The Oregon Health Authority continually monitors case counts across the state. Recognizing the case increases in Lane County over the last two weeks, OHA has already been working with Lane County Public Health to address the community spread they are experiencing," said Governor Kate Brown. "There is no question that the spread of COVID-19 in Lane County is connected—to a degree—to student social activities. Social gatherings, like off-campus parties, are incredibly dangerous and spread this disease. Let me be clear, though: it will take the entire county working together to bring these COVID-19 numbers under control. Once COVID-19 is spreading in the community, small family get-togethers can also lead to dozens of infections.”

The watch list allows the state to prioritize resources and assistance to counties that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19. Counties are placed on the list when COVID-19 is spreading quickly and public health officials cannot trace the spread to a specific source, according to Oregon Health Authority.

Specific markers of rapid community spread include when there is a sporadic case rate of 50 or more per 100,000 people in the last two weeks and the county has had more than five sporadic cases in the last two weeks. Counties remain on the watch list for a minimum of three weeks and until their sporadic case rates drop below these thresholds, according to OHA.

"The Watch List signifies caution. When we are able to address community spread early on, the more likely we are to be successful in curbing that spread. While OHA offers support and resources to help county officials prevent further case spikes, it remains up to all community members to do their part," Gov. Brown said. "I urge all Oregonians to continue wearing face coverings, watch your physical distance, wash your hands often, and stay home if you feel sick. Now is also a good time to schedule your flu shot."

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