Central Oregon to remain under ‘Extreme’ COVID risk until Jan. 15 – at least

COVID cases are declining in Deschutes County but it will remain under the state’s “Extreme Risk” category at least until January 15th.

Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday issued updated risk levels for several Oregon counties, moving Clatsop, Coos, Douglas, Lincoln and Morrow counties from “Extreme” to “High” risk, which eases some COVID restrictions on gathering sizes and opens up bars and restaurants for limited indoor seating.

“After weeks of diligent work by local leaders and public health officials to implement health and safety measures in their communities, this week’s county data is a welcome sign that we are making progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon,” Brown said in a statement. “The county risk level framework is meant to put us on track to reopen our schools, businesses, and communities.

The state’s new public health framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level.

The tightest COVID restrictions remain in place for Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, which are considered ‘extreme’ risk for COVID spread.

In Deschutes County, cases have fallen from a high of 455 during the first week of December to 327 cases the week of Dec. 13-19.

A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.

Restaurants and bars are limited to take out only, gyms must remain closed, grocery stores must operate at 50% capacity and churches are limited to 100 people indoors or 25% of capacity.

“Every week, more Oregonians are being vaccinated against this deadly disease,” Brown said. “But, until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to open our communities is to continue practicing the measures we know are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — wear your mask, keep physical distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick.”

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