Lane County remains ‘extreme’ after latest COVID-19 risk assessment


Neighboring Douglas County has been re-designated as “High Risk”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown recently announced updates to county risk levels under the state’s public health framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. The framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread — extreme risk, high risk, moderate risk and lower risk — and assigns health and safety measures for each level.

Effective Jan. 1 through Jan. 14, there will be 24 counties in the “extreme risk” level, five at “high risk,” zero at “moderate risk” and seven at “lower risk.” Lane County remains at extreme risk, though neighboring counties Douglas, Lincoln and Coos have shifted down to high risk.

“After weeks of diligent work by local leaders and public health officials to implement health and safety measures in their communities, this week’s county data is a welcome sign that we are making progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon,” said Brown. “The county risk level framework is meant to put us on track to reopen our schools, businesses and communities. It is not easy.”

In the 97424 ZIP code area, cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 230 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, with 192 cases reported within the 97426 ZIP code.

According to the governor, “high risk” is the first county level in which some businesses and facilities, such a bars and restaurants, can resume offering indoor services with health and safety measures and capacity limits in place.

“Oregon families and businesses have made incredible sacrifices,” Brown continued. “If we work together, we will see more counties begin to lower their COVID-19 risk levels. 

If communities let down their guard too early, we could see our hard-won progress unravel just as quickly.”

The Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly. County risk levels will be reassigned every two weeks. 

The first week’s data will provide a “warning week” to prepare counties for potential risk level changes (see related story on A1).

The next assignment of risk levels will take effect Jan. 15. 

In the meantime, Lane County has begun providing vaccinations to healthcare workers.

“Every week, more Oregonians are being vaccinated against this deadly disease. But, until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to open our communities is to continue practicing the measures we know are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — wear your mask, keep physical distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick,” Brown said.

Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted at www.coronavirus.oregon.gov.

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