June 9, 2021 — The Florence area and Lane County are now considered at low risk of community spread of COVID-19. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the change in a press release yesterday.
"Oregon is so close to more fully reopening our economy, and I am grateful to everyone who has stepped up to get vaccinated. We will soon need to reach fewer than 100,000 Oregonians to achieve our statewide vaccination goal of 70 percent and lift the county risk level framework," the governor said.
Lane, Coos, and Wasco counties will move down to lower risk, and Josephine and Yamhill counties will move down to moderate risk, effective Wednesday, June 9. Effective through Thursday, June 17, there will be 21 counties at the lower risk level, 4 at moderate risk, and 11 at the high risk level. Read more at https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le3461.pdf.
This week, Lane County exceeded the vaccination metric of 65 percent of individuals 16+ getting their COVID-19 vaccination. This means the county is now permanently at the low risk level.
Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in keeping western Lane County aware of the changing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an email to the community, Chamber President/CEO Bettina Hannigan said, “Thank you for doing your part in helping Lane County reach this milestone. It has taken a community effort to get here and it will take a continued community effort to achieve our next milestones — 70 percent vaccination and community immunity.”
On May 11, Brown announced that counties that vaccinate at least 65 percent of their adult residents with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and submit documentation on how they will close equity gaps in their vaccination efforts are eligible to move to the lower risk level. Lane County moved this week after achieving the vaccination rate and submitting an equity plan.
Lane County Public Health submitted its equity plan on May 27. In it, Dr. Jocelyn Warren, Ph.D., Dr. Patrick Luedtke, M.D., and Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky signed an attestation statement.
“We have each reviewed the attached responses to all questions and affirm that our local public health authority jurisdiction will continue to make meaningful efforts to offer culturally-responsive, low-barrier vaccination opportunities, especially for populations in our jurisdiction experiencing racial or ethnic vaccine inequities,” they stated. “We commit to implementing this plan to close the racial and ethnic vaccine inequities in our jurisdiction. The LPHA and its partners will continue to ensure that vaccine sites are culturally responsive, linguistically appropriate and accessible to people with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities and other unique vaccine access needs.”
Some ways the county is working to increase equitable access to vaccines is by partnering with smaller communities to bring mass vaccination clinics, such as to the Florence Events Center.
People can read the available equity plans online at govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19#collapseCountyEquityPlan.
The governor also has a plan to full reopen the state. When Oregon achieves a first dose 70 percent statewide vaccination rate for residents 18 or older, Oregon will lift all risk level health and safety restrictions. Some restrictions based on CDC guidance for use of masks and physical distancing may remain in place.
“But, for unvaccinated individuals, COVID-19 remains as large a threat as it ever was,” Brown cautioned. “With more contagious variants spreading, far too many Oregonians are still being hospitalized when they could be protected with a vaccine. If you have been waiting to get vaccinated, go get your shot today. It's never been easier to get an appointment, and you may just win $1 million through the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign."
People can learn more about the virus, and how to get vaccinated, at covidvaccine.oregon.gov; coronavirus.oregon.gov/Pages/living-with-covid-19.aspx; all4oregon.org; lanecounty.org/coronavirus; and lanecounty.org/vaxclinics.