On March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced updates to county risk levels for the community spread of COVID-19. Lane County will again shift down on Friday, this time into the “lower risk” designation after a steady progression from “extreme” to “moderate” risk assessments over the past four weeks. In addition, neighboring Douglas county, which has been in the “extreme risk” category, will drop to “high risk” on Friday.
“This week, we continue to see the majority of counties at lower and moderate risk, and I want to thank Oregonians once again for making smart choices throughout this pandemic,” Brown said.
Effective March 26 through April 8, there will be only two counties — Coos and Curry counties — in the extreme risk level, six at high risk, 14 at moderate risk and another 14 at designated as lower risk.
Under the lower risk designation, more of Lane County will reopen, though still with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Many activities that were restricted under higher risk levels are allowed. This includes increased people capacity and operating hours for several business types. For Douglas County, the high-risk level allows all business the opportunity to be open, with some restrictions and limitations on capacity. Note that, as part of the state COVID risk and safety mandates instituted in December 2020, Senior Centers and Hookah bars are not allowed to operate regardless of the risk level in their county.
More information is available at coronavirus.oregon.gov.
Brown credited the lower risk designations to people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
“As we work to open up vaccine eligibility to all Oregonians by May 1, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel get a little brighter. But we still have more work to do to reach the level of community-wide protection we need. I encourage all Oregonians to keep wearing your masks, maintain physical distance, stay home when sick, and get your vaccine when it's available to you,” she said.
On March 11, President Joseph Biden directed states, tribes and territories to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than May 1.
Thus far, Oregonians in Phase 1A are eligible for the vaccine. This includes medical workers, long-term care and hospice workers and emergency response workers. Phase 1B became eligible in January. Groups 1 to 5 are currently eligible, which encompasses school district staff and childcare workers as well as adults age 65 and older.
The next phase, Group 6, will be eligible no later than March 29. This will be:
Group 7 will be eligible no later than April 19. This includes
People can see the full list of eligible frontline workers at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/categories-essential-workers.html for a full list.
Lane County Government announced its readiness for this timeline as it prepares for increased vaccine allocations in the coming week. On social media, staff posted, “Federal allocations bring May vaccinations.”
Lane county also indicated the state is on track with current eligibility timelines based on current allocations. Additionally, the timelines for eligible groups may advance once Oregon receives enough increased doses from the federal government.
As of press time Tuesday, 1.53 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Oregon, with 570,304 fully vaccinated.
To sign up for vaccines in Lane County, people can go to www.lanecounty.org/coronavirus.
The county also offered Oregon Health Authority guidance for people who have already gotten the vaccine — both doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson — and waited the appropriate time.
“You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces,” stated a staff report.
People should also continue to avoid medium or large-sized gatherings and travel.
Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 website is healthoregon.org/coronavirus.
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