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Multnomah County Moving To “Lower Risk” On Thursday

PORTLAND, Ore. – Governor Kate Brown announced Tuesday that Multnomah County’s application and equity plan has been approved and the county will be moving to “Lower Risk” on Thursday.

That means indoor capacity at restaurants and fitness centers can increase to 50 percent.

It also means the Portland Trail Blazers can increase capacity to 8,000 fans on Thursday. The team is adding vaccinated only sections.

With the approval, on Thursday there will be 15 counties at “High Risk”, three at “Moderate Risk, and 18 at “Lower Risk”.

Clackamas County is the lone Tri-County to not have had at least 65 percent of eligible people vaccinated and remains at “High Risk”.

The Governor also announced that risk levels will now be updated each week, as opposed to every other week.

Here’s more from the Governor’s Office:

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced updates to county risk levels under the state’s public health framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. Effective Thursday, May 27 through Thursday, June 3, there will be 15 counties in the High Risk level, three at Moderate Risk, and 18 at Lower Risk, including Multnomah County, which has reached a 65% adult vaccination rate and whose equity plan has been approved. A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.

“The science is clear: vaccines are very effective in keeping people safe from COVID-19, and they are the key to returning to normal life and lifting health and safety restrictions statewide,” said Governor Brown. “This disease remains dangerous for those in communities with high rates of unvaccinated individuals. That’s why I’m encouraging all Oregonians to roll up your sleeves, take your shot, and get a chance to change your life. It’s never been easier to get vaccinated, and you may just end up a winner through the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign.”

On May 11, Governor Brown announced that counties that vaccinate at least 65% of their residents 16 or older with at least one dose and submit documentation on how they will close equity gaps in their vaccination efforts are eligible to move to the Lower Risk level. A county vaccination data dashboard is available on OHA’s website. Please note that the dashboard displays state vaccine allocations only, and does not track federally administered vaccine doses.

Updated Guidance for Lower Risk Levels
Yesterday, Governor Brown announced that businesses in Lower Risk counties will soon have the option of creating vaccinated sections. Businesses will be able to take advantage of this option beginning Thursday, May 27. Additional details will be posted by Thursday to OHA’s website.

Weekly County Movements
As case rates continue to decline, starting next week county risk level changes will be announced every week. The next risk level changes will be announced on Tuesday, June 1, to take effect on Friday, June 4. Counties facing moves back up in risk level will be given a caution period to re-focus efforts to drive back down creeping case numbers.

When Oregon achieves a first dose 70% statewide vaccination rate for residents 16 or older, Oregon will lift all risk level health and safety restrictions. Some restrictions based on CDC guidance for use of masks and physical distancing may remain in place.

Here’s more from Multnomah County:

Multnomah County moves to low risk Thursday, May 27, recommends masks for all indoor settings

Multnomah County will move from “High Risk” to “Lower Risk” on Thursday, May 27, allowing more people to gather inside businesses, faith institutions, fitness centers, and other indoor and outdoor venues. Gov. Kate Brown made the announcement in a press release today.

But please note, even as this shift occurs, the Multnomah County Public Health Division recommends that everyone continue wearing masks in any indoor public spaces for the time being.

Guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Oregon already advise unvaccinated people to continue wearing masks indoors. Public Health is advising everyone else to keep wearing masks because, in many situations, there is no practical way to tell who is fully protected.

“Masks work, and we ask you to keep masking up until our vaccination rates go up and our disease rates go down further,’’ said Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey. “Thousands of people have been fully vaccinated across this county, but not in every neighborhood or age group. Nearly one-third of those eligible have not yet received any shot, particularly young people. Masks can help us avoid new infections, especially as we still have hundreds of new COVID-19 cases in Oregon occurring everyday.’’

At least 67 percent of people ages 16 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in Multnomah County. Today, the state announced it has approved the County’s detailed plan on how it will address low vaccination rates among some communities of color,

“We want to thank everyone in this community who has worked so hard to get us to ‘Lower Risk,’’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “For those who haven’t yet gotten vaccinated, our sites are open, our volunteers are standing by and our community needs you to be protected. Every shot takes us one step closer to being able to do more of what we love, with those we love.’’

You can drop into any County vaccine site and find locations and hours of operations here:

A detailed list of allowed “Lower Risk’’ activities is on the state’s website.

You can also download and post this Health Department sign encouraging mask wearing indoors in two sizes: English 8.5 x 11English 11×17.

King County issued a similar mask recommendation on May 20, with Public Health Director Patty Hayes saying: “King County has done remarkably well compared to other parts of the U.S. throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and although we are beginning the transition toward fewer mandates and more personal decision-making, we need to continue doing what’s been working for us for a bit longer.”

Multnomah County’s Director Guernsey said Public Health is continuing to work closely with community-based organizations to ensure people get access both to vaccines and the information they need to make an informed decision.

“But we need everyone’s help,” Guernsey said. “If you’ve been vaccinated, perhaps you can help someone who hasn’t yet, whether that’s by offering a ride to a clinic, giving someone time off work, or helping a parent with childcare.

“And remember, please continue using masks indoors, whether you are vaccinated or not.’’

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