5 counties reach milestone in slog back to pre-pandemic life


Washington, Benton, Deschutes, Hood River and Lincoln counties move to Lower Risk on Friday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Five Oregon counties are moving to Lower Risk COVID-19 restrictions on Friday after hitting the state’s target vaccination rate.

Washington, Benton, Deschutes, Hood River and Lincoln counties have all vaccinated at least 65% of residents ages 16 or older. They also submitted the required equity plans to the Oregon Health Authority to close gaps in vaccination rates.

Public health leaders in Washington County are excited about the achievement.

“We are going to go from high risk to low risk and that is a thank-you to our community members who are getting vaccinated,” said Marni Kuyl, the director of Health and Human Services for Washington County.

Bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues such as theaters and museums in low-risk counties can operate at 50% indoor capacity.

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro reopened earlier this month after having been closed since November. Guests are required to wear masks and social distance. Executive Director Aurore Giguet said she’s excited to welcome back more community members now that Washington County is lower risk but the museum has opted not to jump back to 50% capacity right away.

“We’ve decided to do a phased approach so we’ve added more reservations to our system this weekend and over the next couple of weekends we will rollout more openings,” said Giguet. “We want to make sure our staff and our visitors and all of our volunteers feel safe and we thought that was the best way to do it.”

Multnomah County reached the 65% threshold but was unable to create the equity plan by the deadline. They submitted the plan on Friday and are likely to go into lower risk next week.

Restaurants, bars and gyms must continue operating at 25% capacity in the meantime.

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