COVID restrictions to relax across Central Oregon Friday as case numbers drop

COVID restrictions in Central Oregon will relax even more later this week after Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday updated the risk levels for all three local counties.

Beginning Friday, Deschutes County will move from high risk to moderate risk level; Crook County is moving from high risk to lower risk and Jefferson County moves from extreme risk to high risk.

The changes in Deschutes County will mean restaurants/bars, gyms and indoor entertainment facilities can expand capacities to 50% or 100 people (whichever is smaller.)

Retail stores capacities increase to 75%  and outdoor recreation facilities can boost capacities to 150 people.

COVID cases here are on a seven-week slide.

And last week, for the first time since mid-October, Deschutes County reported fewer than 100 weekly cases.

Effective March 12 through March 25, there will be two counties in the extreme risk level, nine at high risk, 12 at moderate risk, and 13 at lower risk.

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

“We are largely seeing case rates decline across the state, with the most counties in the Lower Risk level since the framework was introduced in November,” Brown said in a statement. “This should serve as a reminder that when we follow the health and safety measures we know work against this virus, we can truly make a difference in infection spread.

“But, we still have more work to do before we reach the level of community-wide protection we need in order to return to a sense of normalcy. I encourage all Oregonians to keep it up and to get your vaccine when it’s available to you.”

Crook County jumped two levels to the least restrictive risk level possible.

Restaurants, bars and gyms can all open at 50% capacity.

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