Officials urge caution as COVID-19 cases see spike

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Lane County shifted down to “lower risk” Friday

March 27, 2021 — On March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement commemorating one year after she signed Oregon’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” executive order.

“One year ago, Oregonians stayed home and worked together to protect our loved ones from a disease we were just beginning to understand. Thanks to your smart choices over the last year, Oregon continues to have some of the lowest numbers for COVID-19 cases and deaths in the nation,” she said.

The governor also released a new vaccination timeline, which could see more people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 5.
“Each day, we are steadily gaining ground, but we must continue to wear masks, maintain physical distance, and get vaccinated. We will come out of this crisis the same way we faced it one year ago today — together, and with the opportunity to build back a stronger, more just and equitable Oregon.”

On Friday, Lane County shifted down to “lower risk” of community spread of COVID-19. However, the county urged people to continue practicing healthy behaviors due to an increase in cases in the past week.

According to Lane County Public Health, “LCPH is seeing more cases as a result of social gatherings. With 29 cases on Wednesday and 34 [Friday], this could be the beginning of another spike. LCPH urges all community members to continue distancing, masking and avoiding unnecessary social gatherings if possible.”

West Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich posted about the issue on his social media.

“We must keep up with being responsible with our behaviors or we will go backwards,” he said. “We are starting to see cases rise over the last couple of days and have had several small outbreaks tied to private household gatherings.”

The lessening restrictions due to the lower risk county metric happened right at the tail-end of spring break. The designation will last for two weeks, until April 8. In that time, Oregon Health Authority will continue to analyze COVID-19 statistics.

If cases increase, Lane County could go back to a higher risk designation. It won’t be the first time that a county has gone back to higher restrictions.

Under the lower risk designation, more of the 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.

“Keep up the good work that lowered our risk level and is allowing for some economic relief for our small businesses,” Bozievich urged. “Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands and avoid large crowds.”

More information is available at www.coronavirus.oregon.gov and www.lanecounty.org/coronavirus.

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