Oregon changes risk level guidance, pre-empting slide back to 'Extreme Risk' for some counties

Josephine and Klamath counties were poised to move back to Extreme Risk status later this week, but Oregon officials have decided to change the state's criteria instead.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 1:20 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2021 1:32 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon counties facing a return to "Extreme Risk" status will be spared the state's harshest coronavirus restrictions after officials decided to change their criteria on Tuesday.

Public health officials in Josephine County and Klamath County signaled earlier this week that they would likely move to "Extreme Risk" status on Friday. Both counties had been placed on a two-week extension amid rising cases — Josephine County from High Risk status, and Klamath County from Moderate Risk.

Under the new criteria, Extreme Risk will be determined by statewide COVID-19 hospitalization levels in addition to case counts and percent of test positivity. For any county to reach Extreme Risk, Oregon must have COVID-19 positive patients occupying 300 hospital beds or more, and a 15% increase in the seven-day average over the past week.

Counties that meet the criteria for Extreme Risk without the statewide trigger will be assigned to High Risk. Governor Brown's office identified three counties that qualify for Extreme Risk based on their county metrics, but are assigned High Risk because the statewide trigger has not been met — Josephine, Klamath, and Tillamook.


RELATED: California plans to lift most pandemic restrictions June 15


"COVID-19 hospitalizations are a key indicator of severe illness in Oregon communities," Brown's office said. "As vaccine distribution increases, case counts and percent positivity will not be adequate indicators on their own for measuring the threat COVID-19 poses to public health."

This isn't the first time that Oregon officials have changed the conditions for the risk level system as counties faced a return to Extreme RIsk. The concept of a two-week extension was added at the beginning of March, and allowed Jackson County to remain at High Risk in spite of seeing more cases over a two-week period than that risk level allowed.

Extreme Risk restrictions also got a minor tweak at the end of January. Instead of totally shutting down all gyms and fitness centers within an Extreme Risk county, the updated guidance allowed for very limited capacity in these businesses, dependent on the size of each facility.

From April 9 through April 22, there will be 14 counties in the High Risk level, six at Moderate Risk, and 16 at Lower Risk. During that period, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Curry counties will all be at High Risk. Lake County remains at Lower Risk.

“We are at a critical moment in this pandemic as we face more contagious variants of COVID-19 taking hold in our communities,” said Governor Brown. “Now more than ever it’s imperative that we all continue wearing masks, maintain physical distance, stay home when sick, and get the vaccine when it’s available to you.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5060666

Reported Deaths: 74152
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152491227121
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
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