October 16, 2020 4:45 p.m.

On Friday, Governor Kate Brown added Lane County to the County Watch List, bringing the total number of counties on the list to five.

Brown said that recognizing the case increases in Lane County over the past two weeks, the Oregon Health Authority has already been working with Lane County Public Health to address the community spread they are experiencing.

Brown said, “There is no question that the spread of COVID-19 in Lane County is connected – to a degree – to student social activities”. She said “Social gatherings, like off-campus parties, are incredibly dangerous and spread this disease”. Brown said it will take the entire county working together to bring the COVID-19 numbers under control. Brown said, “Once COVID-19 is spreading in the community, small family get-togethers can also lead to dozens of infections”.

A release said counties are placed on the Watch List when COVID-19 is spreading quickly and public health officials cannot trace that spread to specific sources – creating a potentially dangerous dynamic.

The County Watch List allows the state to prioritize resources and assistance to counties that are seeing the broadest spread of COVID-19, according to the release. When a county is placed on the Watch List, the Oregon Health Authority increases monitoring and communication, and deploys additional technical assistance and resources, such as epidemiological support, case investigation, and contact tracing help.

The complete County Watch list now includes Benton, Clatsop, Lane, Malheur and Umatilla counties.