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Riskier Business 

Half of Oregon counties moved to a higher risk category; Deschutes, Crook among counties shuttering indoor dining

Deschutes County and Crook County along with 13 others, were designated as Extreme Risk by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday, after the number of hospitalizations in the state rose above 300.  The change in status will go into effect on Friday, and county data will be evaluated on a weekly basis for at least the next three weeks in an attempt to return to lower risk categories faster.

“If we don’t act now, doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers in Oregon will be stretched to their limits treating severe cases of COVID-19,” Gov. Brown said in a press release. “Today’s announcement will save lives and help stop COVID-19 hospitalizations from spiking even higher. With new COVID-19 variants widespread in so many of our communities, it will take all of us working together to bring this back under control.”

Nine counties will be considered “high risk” on Friday, four “moderate risk” and eight “lower risk.” Under Extreme Risk, indoor dining is prohibited, and gyms and movie theaters are limited to no more than six people indoors. Indoor visits to nursing homes are also not allowed. In light of the renewed restrictions, Brown also announced a $20 million small business emergency relief package to continue to fund the commercial rent relief program for businesses in extreme risk counties.

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“I recognize the burden these restrictions place on Oregon businesses and working families. My goal is to lift these restrictions as soon as it is safely possible, and keep Oregon on the path for lifting most health and safety requirements by the end of June so we can fully reopen our economy. But we will only get there if enough Oregonians get vaccinated,” Gov. Brown said. 

Changes were made to the Extreme Risk guidelines, and outdoor capacity limits will be raised from 50 to 100 in Extreme-Risk counties. The governor stated that counties will remain in the extreme risk category for a maximum of three weeks, and will be able to move to a lower category if they bring countywide cases down, if Oregon moves below 300 statewide hospitalizations or if the seven-day hospitalization average percent increase falls below 15%. If none of these criteria are met within three weeks, the Oregon Health Authority will evaluate why and make recommendations to the Governor’s Office.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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