(Update: Gov. Brown announces risk level improvements statewide
Move from 'Extreme' to 'High' allows limited indoor dining, other activities
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Crook County was approved Tuesday to move down from the Extreme Risk to High Risk category, allowing indoor dining and more businesses to reopen Friday in limited fashion, two weeks after the county had just one too many COVID-19 cases to qualify.
The new category level will be in place for the next 2-week cycle, having had 46 COVID-19 cases reported over the past 2-week period, 13 below the limit of 59 for mid-sized counties. In the previous period, Crook County had 60 cases, sparking frustration among businesses and elected leaders.
Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday afternoon that 16 counties improved in risk level, with 10 of those improving from Extreme Risk.
County risk levels under the state's public health framework aim to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. The framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level.
Effective Feb. 26 through March 11, there will be just five counties in the Extreme Risk level (including Jefferson County, 11 at High Risk (including Crook and Deschutes), 10 at Moderate Risk, and 10 at Lower Risk.
A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.
“For the second time in a row, we are seeing great progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 across Oregon and saving lives," Brown said. "Oregonians continue to step up and make smart choices.
"While these county movements are welcome news, we must continue to take seriously health and safety measures, especially as more businesses reopen and we start to get out more. As we see infection rates going down and vaccinations ramping up, now is not the time to let down our guard. Continue to wear your masks, keep physical distance, and avoid indoor gatherings."
The Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly. County risk levels will be reassigned every two weeks. The first week's data will provide a "warning week" to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will be announced March 9 and take effect March 12.
Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.
Crook County's change allows businesses to move to that next step of reopening. The High-Risk Category guidance can be found on the OHA COVID-19 website at:
"What this means for some business, such as restaurants and bars, is that they will be able to open to indoor dining," the county said. "Although restrictions still apply around social distancing and capacity, many are excited to see this positive movement."
"Crook County is moving in the right direction, and the change in risk level for Crook County indicates that everyone has worked hard to protect themselves and others from exposure to COVID-19, and this has kept our case count lower than it has been for some time."
The Crook County Health Department said it is actively administering the COVID vaccine to the community, using the approved list of groups that the governor’s office and Oregon Health Authority has released.
As additional groups become eligible, the health department will continue to do public vaccination clinics at the Crook County Fairgrounds. The clinic is by appointment only, and once your group becomes eligible, you will be able to schedule an appointment using an online scheduler.
The Crook County Health Department is posting daily updates on the web site to indicate which group is currently eligible for vaccination and a potential timeline of when others can start scheduling. Please visit the website regularly to get updates. What’s available on the website?
--Updates to eligible groups
--Link to the online schedule simplybook.me and other vaccination sites around Central Oregon
--Links to State, Local and Federal sites for more information about COVID-19
"The Crook County Health Department is receiving a very high number of calls, so if you can’t get through right away please be patient and someone will get to you as soon as possible," the department said.
For more information or general questions, the Crook County Health Department is here to refer you to the right place to get answers - Office: 541-447-5165.