PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With Oregon on the verge of meeting Gov. Kate Brown’s goal of 70% vaccination, the governor announced the state will reopen no later than June 30.
Brown announced on Friday morning she has signed a “recovery-focused executive order.” The order lifts all remaining health and safety restrictions issued for the COVID-19 pandemic. Those restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate, social distancing and capacity limits, will be lifted once the state reaches the 70% vaccination mark or on Wednesday, June 30 — whichever comes first.
Although the state mask requirement will be lifted, masks will continue to be required in some places under the federal mandate, including airports, public transit, and health care settings. The recovery order is set to remain in effect until the end of the year.
Brown says after reopening, the state will shift its focus to helping those hit the hardest by the pandemic and put them on the road to further recovery.
“As we near the end of June — more than 15 months since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Oregon, we find oursdelves entering a new chapter of the pandemic,” Brown said. “More than 2.3 million Oregonians are now vaccinated and we are quickly approaching the point where 70% of Oregon’s adults have received a first dose.”
The governor cited the widespread availability of the vaccines, the tireless work of those in the healthcare communities and the willingness of the public to get vaccinated as the reason we’re able to move forward.
“Brighter days are ahead. And, we are more determined than ever to make sure we ground our state in a strong recovery that reaches every single Oregonian as we turn a page on this chapter of the pandemic,” she said. “Our work is not done, but we can all take a moment to celebrate that by next week, we will be moving forward together.”
Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen joined Gov. Brown at the press conference to speak more on the state’s current COVID-19 vaccination status.
According to the latest available data, Oregon currently has 69% of adults vaccinated. The state is ranked No. 18 in the nation in total population who have received at least one dose, with 58% of all Oregonians having had at least one. The national average is 54%.
However, Allen did acknowledge that vaccination demand has decreased in recent weeks.
“It’s no secret that vaccine demand has tapered in recent weeks, but we continue to reach Oregonians every day with a vaccine,” he said. “At the county level, we’re seeing an uptick in some rural counties. Over the past week, the seven-day vaccination rate of growth across the state has hovered around 1%.”
Allen said there are currently 8 counties that have vaccinated 65% or more of residents age 16 and up. Those counties are Benton, Clackamas, Deschutes, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Multnomah and Washington. However, the rate of growth in those counties has slowed to less than 1%.
“In contrast, 14 counties have vaccinated fewer than 50% of their residents who are 16 and older. However, Crook, Gilliam and Umatilla all grew between 1.4% and 1.8% last week,” he explained. “In counties that have vaccinated more than 50% of their residents who are 16 and older, Clatsop, Jefferson, Marion, Sherman and Wasco all saw growth rates of 1.3% to 1.8% last week.”
He said although many of these counties still have low overall vaccination rates, these growth spurts are an encouraging sign. Yet, many unvaccinated people in Oregon remain highly vulnerable — especially as new, more contagious variants spread.
“Which brings me to my most important message: We’re not finished vaccinating Oregonians. A 70% vaccination rate among adults is a major accomplishment. It’s made a safer state reopening possible,” Allen said.
The “Take Your Shot, Oregon” campaign, an incentive for people to get the COVID-19 vaccination, begins drawings on Monday to win cash, scholarships and “lodging, accommodations, dining and activities for two at iconic Oregon travel destinations.”