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Some new cases have been linked to social gatherings in northern part of county

On Thursday, Columbia County saw its highest single-day count of new COVID-19 cases since mid-January.

The county moved down to the "moderate risk" level on March 26. The county had moved from "extreme risk" to "high risk" in mid-February.

By April 1, the running total of new COVID-19 cases in the county had surpassed the total for all of the prior week.

Data from the two-week period of March 7 to 20 shows 30 confirmed and presumptive cases with a test positivity rate of 2.7%.

From March 14 to 27, cases increased to 56 new confirmed and presumptive cases and a 4.2% positivity rate.

If the latest case counts continue, the county will have nearly double that number of cases in the period starting March 28.

"Columbia County recently linked several COVID-19 cases to recent gatherings and activities in north county," a county news release stated. "If this trend continues, it could shift Columbia County back into the high risk category and lead to stricter capacity restrictions and gathering limits."

Columbia County Public Health reminded residents to continue wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and washing hands frequently.

"Most importantly, we can continue to follow the recommendations of limiting the amount of people who gather socially in one place. In counties classified as moderate risk, indoor social and at-home gatherings should be limited to a maximum of eight people from no more than two households. Outdoor social and at-home gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 10 people," the news release continued.

Columbia County has had one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the state for most of the year. The Oregon Health Authority removed county-level vaccination data from its website earlier this week, citing errors in county designation that were identified and will be fixed.


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