COVID restrictions could disappear as soon as June 21
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday, June 4, that Oregon could reach a goal of 70% of the population age 18 and older vaccinated against the coronavirus earlier than projected. Brown says this means the state may lift health restrictions as early as June 21, almost certainly by June 30.
That means no mask restrictions or capacity limitations for businesses. Masks will still be necessary on mass transit, airports and health care settings.
"I want to be very clear that we are able to reopen like this because of the efficacy of vaccines. Those of you who are vaccinated, you've helped us reach this point," says Brown. "If you are not vaccinated, this virus still poses a very real threat. The vast majority of patients now coming into hospitals with COVID-19 are unvaccinated."
The state still strongly recommends that unvaccinated and vulnerable individuals continue to wear masks and practice other health and safety measures to prevent transmission of the virus.
Once OHA lifts restrictions, the governor will pass decision making off to local public health leaders, control Jefferson County Public Health Director Michael Baker has wanted since the pandemic began.
"Locally, this will allow us to be more agile in reacting to the data and cases that we are seeing," says Baker. "Regardless of what is happening or not happening in other counties, we'll be focused on what works best for Jefferson County."
Baker says the county case numbers are trending down, from 45 cases two weeks ago to 25 but points out we're between the spike in cases from Memorial Day picnics and this week's graduation parties.
"As we've seen throughout the pandemic, family gatherings are, by far, the mostly likely source for COVID spread within Jefferson County," says Baker. "Hopefully, vaccination rates and our COVID precautions will help keep the numbers down in comparison to what we saw just a year ago."
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