MultCo COVID trend line ‘hopeful’ for health officials

Coronavirus

Possible Multnomah County could get lower Risk Level in weeks

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Friday is the day when both Washington and Clackamas counties move to the Moderate Risk level in the COVID protocols. Multnomah County remains in the High Risk level, but county health officials are cautiously optimistic about the next cycle in two weeks.

Multnomah County Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey is impressed with how the county has brought its COVID numbers down.

At this time, Multnomah County has a 2% COVID positivity rate, which is below the metrics to move to a lower risk category. But there are about 108 cases per 1000 people — and that metric needs to be below 100.

Guernsey is encouraged after seeing so many Oregonians following physical distancing and masking guidelines.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” she told KOIN 6 News, “but I have to say if I look at our trend line, I would say that I remain hopeful that people will continue those behaviors.”

For now, Multnomah County will remain in the High Risk but it’s possible the county will move down soon.

“Just based on our numbers I feel, I’m pretty positive. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that we’ll hit that data point to come down to Moderate Risk,” she said. “But I remain hopeful…that we’ll continue that downward trend and move into Moderate Risk soon.”

Guernsey said it’s a careful balance of protecting public health and businesses. The next two week cycle will tell a lot.

The difference in Risk Levels

Things definitely are more relaxed for counties in the Moderate Risk level, including Washington and Clackamas. Restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues are allowed to increase capacity to 50%. Retailers can bump up to 75% capacity to allow more shoppers in at one time.

While many counties got relaxed levels, Curry and Harney counties were bumped back up to Moderate Risk after being in a Lower Risk level.

Public health officials remind everyone the risk levels are very fragile. So we can’t let up on physical distancing, otherwise counties can go back to much tighter restrictions.

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