MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - While 31 counties across the state of Oregon ARE getting the green light to begin phase one of reopening, some counties did not. Marion and Polk County were among those that will have to wait longer to begin reopening.

Both counties were denied their request to begin phase one because of a spike in hospitalization. The state of Oregon says some of those cases couldn’t be traced, meaning the virus is still being spread.

Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen spoke on the reasons why they were denied on Thursday. Marion County he says saw hospitalizations increase early in May.

“Hospitalizations had increased over the most recent period, in addition, there was an increase in cases in early May, nearly 40-percent of new cases couldn’t be tracked to a known source,” Allen said.

Across the state, businesses have been struggling with COVID-19 restrictions in place. In Woodburn, Fazoli’s has had to adapt. Their dining area has been closed and they’ve had to lay off some employees.

“Certainly have taken a huge hit financially,” Owner Jim Pavelek said.

Pavelek says the news of Marion County having to wait on reopening was tough to hear. Pavelek says they have taken steps to prepare to reopen based on company guidelines and are just waiting on word from the state when that may be.

“There is definitely an impact just to get to phase one, the goal post and been moved out we don’t know when that is going to happen, so we are impacted, our other employees have been impacted,” Pavelek said.

“I want to stress that if you look at our hospitalizations numbers, they are way down from where they were at the peak," Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron said. "The hospitals have large capacities.”

Cameron says they know how tough it has been but say they are working to get things open and lower hospitalizations.

“Do all those things that we know prevent the spread of the virus and hopefully next Wednesday we will see some different results and we can go through phase one,” Cameron said.

In Polk County, it is a similar situation. Their application was denied as well because of a spike in cases.

"Disappointed, we were hopeful that we were going to get the go ahead on may 15,” Polk County Administrator Greg Hansen said.

Hansen says their spike in cases was tied to a senior living facility in west Salem.

“Hopefully our numbers improve, which since the incident they have been, so hopefully we’ll get the okay next Wednesday,” Hansen said.

The state will take a look at Marion and Polk counties next Wednesday to see if things have improved. If they have, the counties will be approved for phase one reopening.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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(1) comment


Polk County...A spike in cases at a senior citizen facility=someone went there sick even though it was supposed to close down to visitors. Could have been a worker there or a family member. Could it be traced? Are they even testing the workers who work with high risk people regularly? If not, why not? I mean this is not a joke...people could die there at those places. If those people got sick, its because someone from the outside was sick...need to do your homework before you can just reopen.

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