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Five Oregon counties moved from ‘Extreme’ to ‘High’ risk

December 30, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Five Oregon counties will be upgraded from Extreme Risk to High Risk levels, based on the area’s current COVID-19 data, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday.

High Risk is the first level in which some businesses, including restaurants, can resume offering indoor services.

“After weeks of diligent work by local leaders and public health officials to implement health and safety measures in their communities, this week’s county data is a welcome sign that we are making progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon,” Brown said. “The county risk level framework is meant to put us on track to reopen our schools, businesses, and communities.”

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Oregon’s COVID-19 framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme, High, Moderate and Lower.

From Jan. 1 through Jan. 14, there will be 24 counties in the Extreme Risk level, five at High Risk and seven at Lower Risk.

Clatsop, Coos, Douglas, Lincoln and Morrow counties were moved to High Risk from Extreme.

County risk levels are assessed every two weeks. The next assessment is Jan. 15.

“Every week, more Oregonians are being vaccinated against this deadly disease. But, until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to open our communities is to continue practicing the measures we know are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Brown said.

However health officials say they have received less doses of the COVID-19 vaccines than they expected at this point in time.

KOIN reports that more than 20,000 coronavirus vaccine doses had been administered in Oregon by Tuesday, but health leaders in the state had expected more than 100,000 doses to arrive by the end of the year.

Most of the doses have been given to healthcare workers who are in close contact with COVID patients, as well as staff and residents at some nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 713 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 16.

The latest figures brought the state’s coronavirus totals to 111,227 cases and 1,449 deaths.

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Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.