Multnomah, Clackamas counties return to 'High Risk' COVID-19 categories
Multnomah and Clackamas counties will return from the state's COVID-19 "Moderate" to "High Risk" category on Friday, April 9.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made the announcement on Tuesday, April 6. Several other counties are also changing levels. The changes come as case counts and hospitalizations are increasing in several parts of the state.
"We are at a critical moment in this pandemic as we face more contagious variants of COVID-19 taking hold in our communities," Brown said in a press release. "Now more than ever it's imperative that we all continue wearing masks, maintain physical distance, stay home when sick and get the vaccine when it's available to you."
The announcement was made the same day the Oregon Health Authority reported 544 new COVID-19 cases and 33 additional deaths from the novel coronavirus.
Multnomah and Clackamas counties are not returning to the most restrictive "Extreme Risk" category, however.
Among other things, returning to "High Risk" means indoor dining capacity is reduced from 50% to 25%, indoor fitness facilities are reduced from 50% to 25% capacity and at-home social gatherings are reduced from 10 to eight people.
Along with Multnomah and Clackamas, the counties with upgraded risk levels include Deschutes, Klamath, Linn, Tillamook — all of which are returning to "High" from "Moderate" risk.
Malheur and Grant counties are both downgraded from the moderate to "Lower Risk," however.
Oregon health officials also announced they would be adding a statewide hospitalization metric for moving a county to the "Extreme Risk" level. Beginning this week, for counties to move to (or remain in) "Extreme Risk," they must meet the county metrics for case rates and percent positivity, plus the metric of: COVID-19 positive patients occupying 300 hospital beds or more, and a 15% increase in the seven-day average over the prior week.
"Counties that meet the criteria for Extreme Risk but for the statewide trigger will be assigned to High Risk," the Oregon Health Authority said in a release. "This week there are three counties that qualify for Extreme Risk based on their county metrics, but are assigned High Risk because the statewide trigger has not been met: Josephine, Klamath and Tillamook."
The health authority analyzes county data on a weekly basis and risk levels are reassigned every two weeks. The first week's data will provide a "warning week" to prepare counties for potential risk level changes, according to OHA. For this round of changes, the caution period applied to Baker, Columbia, Lane, Polk and Yamhill Counties.
The new figures reported Tuesday increase the total state case count to 167,658 and the death toll to 2,427.
The health authority also reported the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across the state as 163, which was 14 fewer than the day before. There were 42 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is unchanged from a day prior.
The health authority also reported Oregon has now administered a total of 1,040,314 doses of Pfizer, 938,182 doses of Moderna and 51,618 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of Tuesday, 784,476 people have completed a vaccine series. There are 1,290,755 people who have had at least one dose.
The new cases were reported in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (11), Clackamas (86), Clatsop (1), Columbia (5), Coos (10), Crook (2), Curry (2), Deschutes (35), Douglas (7), Grant (9), Harney (3), Hood River (2), Jackson (33), Jefferson (2), Josephine (12), Klamath (21), Lane (41), Lincoln (3), Linn (17), Malheur (4), Marion (36), Multnomah (68), Polk (10), Sherman (1), Tillamook (7), Umatilla (8), Union (4), Wasco (1), Washington (97) and Yamhill (2).
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.