What you need to know about Oregon’s new COVID ‘Risk’ levels


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s new, four-tiered Risk and Protection Framework for COVID-19 went into effect Thursday morning.

The health and safety guidelines have many businesses, local officials and consumers across Oregon frustrated the state is implementing a one-size-fits-all policy for a complex issue. The central argument being that though Brown’s system has four different levels based on a county’s severity of COVID-19 spread, not all businesses should be held to the same requirements.

The metrics are based on the rate of COIVD-19 cases per 100,000 people in a two-week time frame for counties with 30,000 or more people OR the number of COIVD-19 cases in the same 2 week period for counties with less than 30,000 people — AND the percentage of test positivity rate, according to state officials.

Figure 1 below demonstrates this, showing the sliding scale counties must fall within to be moved to a lesser category:

The key difference between the four categories includes how a county can reintroduce indoor gatherings; restaurants and bars; gyms and indoor entertainment establishments; and retail and religious gatherings.

In each subsequent two-week period, the Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly, but county risk levels will not change until the end of the second week, according to state health officials. In the first week, counties will be given Warning Week data to prepare for potential risk level changes. In the second week, county risk levels will be updated based on that week’s data. More detailed information will be posted before December 3.

Read more: Oregon’s Risk and Protection Framework

When asked how long the new framework will be in effect, the governor’s office gave the following response:

“The new framework, which assigns risk levels to counties and associated risk reduction measures, will be the framework we use for the foreseeable future. Until safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and we have high participation in vaccinations, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses, and communities can reopen—and stay open.”

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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