Lane County enters ‘high risk’ on Feb. 26

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Restaurants may offer indoor dining, museums may open under new category

Feb. 24, 2021 — Based on COVID-19 improved case counts, Lane County will be downgraded from “extreme risk” to “high risk” effective Friday, Feb. 26.

“Oregonians continue to make smart choices and the numbers speak for themselves,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. “As of (Feb. 18), Oregon had the third lowest infection rate in the nation. And while this is great news, we must remain vigilant in the face of challenges ahead with the new variants. We advise Oregonians to continue to follow safety measures and choose your activities wisely so that you are minimizing risk as best you can.”

Statewide, as of Feb. 13, Oregon had a COVID-19 case rate of 181.3 cases per 100,000. This is a trend downward from 225.3 the two-week cycle before. Similarly, Lane County had a case rate of 222 as of Jan. 30 but dropped to 194.5 cases per 100,000 last week.

While that number still shows “substantial spread” of the virus in the community, this means that Lane County will exit the “extreme risk” category it has been in since the governor announced new metrics in November.

Under “high risk,” people are still asked to wear a mask, limit gatherings to small groups, keep at least six feet distance between people, wash their hands, stay home when sick and consider getting a flu vaccine. However, certain activities have fewer restrictions, and these are listed online at coronavirus.oregon.gov.

According to Florence Area Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Bettina Hannigan, “This will provide some welcome relief to our business community.”

Here are a few highlights and how they affect businesses and activities starting Feb. 26:

  • Bars, Restaurants, Breweries and Wineries may now allow indoor dining, though takeout and outdoor dining is still recommended. Indoor capacity may not exceed 25 percent maximum occupancy or 50 people, whichever is smaller.
  • Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Funeral Homes now have an indoor capacity of 25 percent occupancy or 150 people total, whichever is smaller. Outdoor can have up to 200 people.
  • Grocery Stores and Pharmacies may have 50 percent maximum capacity. Curbside pick-up is still encouraged where possible.
  • Hair Salons, Barbers, Spas and Tattoo/Piercing are allowed to operate while following COVID-19 safety regulations.
  • Indoor Gyms, Fitness Centers and Indoor Pools may have a capacity of 25 percent occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is smaller. Indoor full-contact sports are prohibited.
  • Long-Term Care Centers may have inside and outside visitation.
  • Museums and Theaters may have a maximum of 25 percent occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is smaller. They must close by 11 p.m.
  • Shopping Centers, Malls and Stores may have a maximum 50 percent occupancy. Curbside pick-up is still encouraged.
  • Offices are still advised to work remotely if possible.
  • Outdoor Recreation and Fitness may have a maximum of 75 people. Outdoor full-contact sports are allowed for adult/club/youth sports with guidance requirements. Outdoor full-contact sports are allowed for K-12 with submitted plans.
  • Social and At-Home Gatherings indoor may have a maximum of six people, with only two households​ recommended. Outdoor gatherings can expand to up to eight people.

County Risk Levels are updated every two weeks in response to COVID-19’s spread in the community.

As of Feb. 23, Lane County showed 10,106 total COVID-19 cases. Of those, 162 are considered infectious and 19 are currently hospitalized, with five of those under intensive care. So far, there have been 122 COVID-related deaths countywide since the novel coronavirus was first detected in Oregon on Feb. 28, 2020. The first reported virus case in Lane County was announced in mid-March.

Lane County is also working to vaccinate the community, with 66,511 total doses administered. 32,480 people have received their first dose of vaccine, with another 16,665 fully vaccinated, or about 4.36 percent of the county’s residents.

“While the downward trend in cases and the rollout of vaccines in Oregon are encouraging signs, it will take time to reach the level of community immunity we need to fully return to normal life,” Hannigan said. “Until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to move towards reopening our businesses is to continue practicing health and safety measures. Thank you to each of you who have worked so diligently to keep your staff and customers safe and healthy.”

Nationwide, more than 500,000 Americans have lost their lives due to COVID-19, including 2,155 Oregonians, since the novel coronavirus was first detected in the U.S. in January 2020.

“Every life lost to COVID-19 is a tragedy,” Brown said on Feb. 22 when she ordered flags to half-mast. “With more than 500,000 Americans who have died from this virus, there are infinitely more people who are now without a friend, family member or other loved one. My thoughts are with all those who have lost someone to this disease and, to all Oregonians, I want you to know I remain committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop the spread and save lives. I hope that, as we remember all those we have lost, we collectively continue to help protect each other from this disease.”

The governor also provided an update on vaccinations in the state, saying that the state remains on schedule to vaccinate people 70 and older starting this week.

Local data regarding COVID-19 is available at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/localdata. For additional resources from the State of Oregon, visit www.coronavirus.oregon.gov.

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