March 9, 2021 — Today, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown today 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 March 12 through March 25, there will be two counties in the extreme risk level, nine at high risk, 12 at moderate risk and 13 at lower risk. Lane County shifts down to moderate risk after just two weeks at high risk, along with four other counties.
"We are largely seeing case rates decline across the state, with the most counties in the lower risk level since the framework was introduced in November," said Brown. "This should serve as a reminder that when we follow the health and safety measures we know work against this virus, we can truly make a difference in infection spread.”
Only Coos and Douglas counties remain at extreme risk.
Additional restrictions are lifted as counties reach fewer cases of community spread of COVID-19. On March 12, this will mean:
Lane County Economic Development Management Analyst Jenna Cusimano sent out the updated guidelines Tuesday morning to area businesses and entrepreneurs.
“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,” she 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.”
Additionally, the governor introduced a new caution period for counties shifting back to higher risk levels.
Beginning this week and continuing until further notice, counties that reduced their COVID-19 spread enough to move down in risk level in the previous two-week period, but see their numbers go back up in the next two-week period, will be given a two-week caution period to bring COVID-19 case rates back down again. In this cycle, this includes Jackson and Malheur counties.
The caution period will allow counties to re-focus efforts to drive back down creeping case numbers, and give local businesses additional certainty on their plans for operating. If, at the end of the caution period, case rate data still puts the county at a higher risk level, the county will move to that level.
“We still have more work to do before we reach the level of community-wide protection we need in order to return to a sense of normalcy,” Brown cautioned. “I encourage all Oregonians to keep it up and to get your vaccine when it's available to you."
The Oregon Health Authority examines and publishes county data weekly, with county risk levels reassigned every two weeks. The first week's data will provide a "warning week" to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will be announced March 23 and take effect March 26.
Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.