Five Oregon counties will move to 'lower risk' level on Friday
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that five counties have reached the 65% threshold of people 16 and older receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and will be allowed to move down to Oregon’s “lower risk” category starting Friday, KGW reports.
The five counties are Benton, Deschutes, Hood River, Lincoln and Washington.
Multnomah County also reached the 65% threshold but will not move down to “lower risk” because it didn’t submit its equity plan for vaccinating underserved groups. This is the other requirement for counties to move down to the “lower risk” level.
Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County health officer, said the county will submit its equity plan on Friday with the goal of moving down in risk level on May 28.
“The health of our whole community hinges on the health of each of our communities, and that’s why the quite component of the state’s newest framework must be developed intentionally,” Multnomah County chair Deborah Kafoury said. “And that is going to take more than three days.”
At the “lower risk” level, restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment venues can allow 50% capacity indoors. Retail capacity is expanded to 75%.
For counties to move down to the state’s “lower risk” health and safety restrictions, they must reach the 65% threshold of residents 16 and older with at least one vaccine dose, and submit an equity plan.
Gov. Brown announced the state’s 70% vaccination goal for residents 16 and older last week. Brown said she was confident that Oregon could reach this goal by June and return to “a sense of normalcy.”
Once this goal is reached, counties will no longer be assigned risk levels and health and safety requirements under risk level framework will be lifted. The use of masks and physical distancing may still be required by the state.