Skip to Content

Corrected data moves Baker County from Extreme to High Risk

COVID-19 coronavirus MGN

State prison inmates aren't counted; 22nd state inmate dies with COVID-19

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that, due to a corrected oversight in the initial risk level calculations for Baker County, the county will improve its level from Extreme Risk to High Risk, effective Jan. 1.

Baker County joins five other counties — announced earlier this week—in moving from Extreme Risk to High Risk. This move allows some businesses and facilities to resume offering indoor services, with health and safety measures and capacity limits in place.

The original data for calculating Baker County's risk level included nine cases from adults in custody at Powder River Correctional Facility in Baker City, which should not have been included in the county's risk level metrics, officials said.

Because adults in custody do not interact with members of the broader community, the Oregon Health Authority is subtracting these cases from Baker County's risk level calculation, as they do with all other counties with correctional facilities.

This reduction in number of cases (from 68 to 59), along with the county’s two-week positivity rate of 7.9%, will allow the county to move from Extreme Risk to High Risk, effective Jan. 1 through Jan. 14.

The subtraction of cases in adults in custody does not impact the risk level of any other counties for the two-week period of Jan. 1 through Jan. 14.

More information about county risk levels is available at

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Corrections reported that an an inmate (adult in custody, or AIC) died Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19.

The man, between 30 and 40 years old, was incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary and passed away at the Salem state prison.

Here's the rest of the agency's news release:

As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the Medical Examiner will determine cause of death. Department-wide, this is the twenty-second AIC to die who tested positive for COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19 cases inside Oregon’s prisons, please visit DOC’s COVID-19 website. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of 13,000 adults in custody who are incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state.

Anyone entering DOC property is required to wear a mask or face covering in any indoor work setting or other indoor premises regardless of distance from others unless they are in a private, individual office not shared by anyone else; or they are actively eating or drinking AND at least six (6) feet of distance can be maintained between other people. Masks are mandatory at all times in many work areas.

Institutions continue to clean and disinfect numerous times a day. DOC asks AICs to report symptoms of COVID to medical staff. Posters are in all DOC institutions encouraging individuals to maintain proper hygiene and to uphold appropriate social distancing to the extent possible. Health screening processes are in place before staff are allowed to enter facilities. This screening includes a temperature check and a screening questionnaire. Visiting remains closed until further notice.

DOC has begun administering COVID-19 vaccinations – eventually offering to all DOC staff, contractors, Oregon Corrections Enterprises employees, and adults in custody (AICs). Prioritization of vaccines will be determined by guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Governor’s Office.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, DOC issued a press release when an AIC passed away. This notification would include the person’s name, county of conviction, sentence length, and date of death. However, no cause of death would be listed, because the Medical Examiner makes that determination.

In order to balance the desire for transparency with our legal obligation to protect personal health information, we have changed the AIC death notification process when someone dies who has tested positive for COVID-19. DOC is working with the Oregon Health Authority to publish COVID-19 related data and information on the OHA website.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content