Brown: 12 Oregon counties face possible move to ‘extreme risk’


Oregon COVID cases are rising

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Brown said 12 Oregon counties are close to moving back to Extreme Risk next week.

During a press conference on Friday, Brown said she is canceling the ‘warning week’ and those counties that qualify per data will move into Extreme Risk on Friday, April 30. She said COVID case numbers and hospital capacities will be analyzed early next week.

Extreme Risk level requires businesses, gyms and restaurants to drastically reduce capacity. Restaurants could only offer takeout and outdoor dining, limited to up to 50 customers at a time. Outdoor tables would be limited to six people from two households.

Roy Galvan, the owner of Mesa Fresca in Oregon City, said the restaurant has seen a boom in customers in the past few weeks so a potential shutdown would be difficult to adjust to. If it happens, they plan to add more tables outside and ramp up to-go orders.

“Frustrating for me and the employees, too, because again they have families they have to support,” said Galvan. “For me to lay off another 12 employees or so, it’s gonna be kind of tough.”

The 12 counties that may move to Extreme Risk are Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Linn, Marion, Polk and Grant. Brown said if counties do move to Extreme Risk, the closure would likely be short-lived thanks to more people getting vaccinated.

Oregon recorded its most COVID cases in a day since January on Thursday. Brown said there were over 1,000 new cases recorded Friday.

“Oregon now ranking 2nd in the nation for having the most rapid growth of spread,” Brown said. “Our hospitals are about to surpass 300 patients who are positive for COVID-19.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said the newest models show rate of transmission surpassed even pessimistic forecasting. There has been a 20% increase in cases since last week, he said.

“We all possess the tools to slow the virus by continuing to wear masks, gather more safely and maintaining physical distancing. And, of course, by getting vaccinated as soon as possible,” Sidelinger said.

OHA Director Patrick Allen said the state is steadily increasing vaccine capacity.

“We’ve seen our statewide vaccination rate increase by ≈6% this past week. At this pace 3 in 4 Oregonians could receive at least their first vaccination by the beginning of summer. By the 4th of July, 8 out 10 Oregonians could receive at least first-dose protection,” Allen said.

Allen said the demand for the vaccine is greater in some counties than others.

“We’re working with counties to lower barriers to vaccinations, redeploy doses to meet demand and ensure that counties are closing the under-vaccination gap, especially for Latino/Latina/Latinx residents in their communities. We’re also working with providers,” Allen said.

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