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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: 224547

Reported Deaths: 2877
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah42425618
Washington28176259
Marion24842333
Clackamas20349243
Lane15401176
Jackson13240160
Deschutes1074187
Umatilla988394
Linn644882
Yamhill515882
Klamath498279
Douglas479594
Polk440457
Josephine438076
Malheur370967
Benton354822
Jefferson252842
Coos241040
Columbia213732
Union175924
Wasco160631
Lincoln159122
Crook144724
Hood River128934
Morrow125017
Clatsop123711
Baker116018
Curry86512
Tillamook7985
Grant5657
Lake4868
Harney46611
Wallowa2486
Gilliam881
Sherman872
Wheeler491
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4003787

Reported Deaths: 64620
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles131165624721
Riverside3112424667
San Bernardino3095025265
San Diego3011003805
Orange2856205146
Santa Clara1245862183
Sacramento1178311790
Kern1143421428
Fresno1057321746
Alameda980131290
Ventura845891046
Contra Costa78084836
San Joaquin776151461
Stanislaus666191097
Tulare50731854
San Mateo45255588
Monterey44651528
San Francisco41758565
Solano36525261
Santa Barbara36106469
Sonoma33414331
Merced33321485
Imperial29333746
Placer25624307
Kings23790251
San Luis Obispo22356267
Madera17220249
Santa Cruz16779207
Yolo15149215
Marin15039243
Butte13523205
Shasta13179242
El Dorado11312121
Napa1055282
Sutter10343127
Yuba712950
San Benito632664
Tehama592766
Lassen590526
Nevada568575
Humboldt535154
Mendocino485652
Tuolumne469173
Lake440866
Amador395348
Siskiyou259640
Glenn248127
Colusa238118
Calaveras235658
Del Norte174710
Inyo148238
Mono13395
Plumas7926
Modoc5767
Mariposa5377
Trinity4696
Sierra1370
Alpine910
Unassigned810
Medford
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Brookings
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