PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One week after the World Health Organization said the global health emergency for COVID-19 was ending, both Oregon and Washington announced they will no longer enforce several COVID protective measures in the coming weeks, including lifting vaccination requirements for some workers.

In a release on Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority said healthcare workers will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID starting Thursday. The mandate for educators, however, won’t be lifted until June 17 — the last week of school.

Should someone test positive for COVID, the five-day period of isolation will no longer be recommended. That isolation period did little to reduce transmission, according to OHA, saying vaccinations and repeated infections have bolstered widespread immunity and many infected individuals are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

Health officials will instead suggest that someone infected stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours and that they wear a mask for 10 days. Individuals that are infected are still urged to avoid anyone that is at increased risk for severe disease, like those with underlying health conditions or the elderly.

Students and school staff will continue to have access to diagnostic COVID testing for another year, with an anticipated end on July 31, 2024.

State epidemiologists will also start tracking and reporting COVID transmission, hospitalizations and deaths differently beginning on Thursday. Following CDC recommendations, OHA says it will no longer use case data which is based on individual tests and can be biased.

“The endings of the vaccination, isolation and some testing measures are among a spate of impending changes over the coming weeks as Oregon, and the nation, continue the long, careful transition out of the pandemic. A number of ‘flexibilities’ put in place during the pandemic will remain in effect,” according to the release.

While the end to several COVID-era requirements is near, the state will still require Oregon Health Plan and commercial health insurers to cover COVD vaccinations and treatment without cost sharing, along with extending the 90-day “reasonable opportunity period” to 180 days, so non-citizens can verify their citizenship or immigration status to enroll in OHP.

Here are other requirements and activities issued during the pandemic that OHA says will stay:

  • Oregon healthcare providers will continue to be reimbursed for language interpreter services (spoken or signed) provided during an office visit.
  • OHP providers are still required to offer access to telehealth services.
  • The implementation of previously announced changes in access to Medicaid coverage and other human services programs is underway.

“These changes are an acknowledgment of the progress we’ve made over the last three-plus years,” said Dean Sidelinger, OHA health officer and state epidemiologist. “However, we know COVID-19 will remain a part of our lives for years to come, so we need to continue taking steps that prevent its spread, such as staying up to date with vaccinations. My thoughts go out to those sick with COVID-19, mourning a loved one, or still suffering with symptoms following their acute infection.”

COVID requirements in Washington

Similarly, Washington state is also loosening its COVID guidelines.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that COVID vaccinations will no longer be mandated for state employees beginning Thursday.

“For more than three years, we have all faced incredible challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives,” said Inslee. “Throughout this public health crisis, our state employee family demonstrated inspiring resilience and dedication, and I thank our employees for their exemplary service under unprecedented circumstances. We have risen to the occasion during a defining moment in our history, and the measures we took helped us to achieve one of the lowest death rates in the nation.”

Washington health officials still recommend anyone who is sick to stay home and wear a face mask if exposed to COVID.