Oregon Moves From ‘Freeze’ to Tiered Risk Restrictions

4MJWJOWGXRDLXM2KWA3ZAAGHTM
Street restriction signs on SE Center street at 72nd avenue on Wed., May 13, 2020. The restrictions are part of the city of Portland’s “Slow Streets Safe Streets” initiative, which is meant to allow more space for pedestrians and cyclists to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Dave Killen / Staff The Oregonian

On Thursday, Oregon moves out of the “freeze” put in place by Gov. Kate Brown and into a tiered framework designating each county by risk levels with different restrictions for each tier.

A county’s placement in each tier will generally be based on the two-week rate of cases per 100,000 residents for populous counties, and the total number of cases for counties with less than 30,000 people. It will also be based on each county’s positivity rate.

Twenty-five Oregon counties, including Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas, have been deemed at “extreme risk” and face the most restrictions.

You can read a full explanation of each of the state’s tiers, and how they’ll be measured, at the state’s coronavirus website.

Here is what you can and cannot do under each tier:

Extreme Risk Tier 

Under the tier with the most elevated risk category, social gatherings inside and outside are limited to six people with a recommended limit of two households.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 50 people total and a maximum party size of six people. All establishments must close by 11 p.m.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms must remain closed as well as indoor recreation facilities like movie theaters and museums. Outdoor recreational facilities — including pools, parks and outdoor fitness classes, are limited to 50 people.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 50% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor services are limited to 150 people and the state recommended keeping services to an hour or less.

Remote work is encouraged, when possible, and public offices should be closed.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 50 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities must take place outside, with limited exceptions.

Counties in the extreme risk tier: Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Umatilla, Union, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill

High Risk Tier

 

Under the second-highest risk category, social gatherings inside are limited to six people with a recommended limit of two households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to eight people.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 25% or 50 people inside, whichever is smaller. Outdoor dining will be capped at 75 people and all establishments must close by 11 p.m.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms, as well as indoor entertainment facilities, will be limited to 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is smaller.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 50% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 25% capacity or 150 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor services are limited to 200 people.

Remote work is encouraged, when possible.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 75 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed.

Counties in the high risk tier: Benton, Clatsop, Coos, Curry and Lincoln

Moderate Risk Tier 

Under the moderate risk tier, social gatherings inside are limited to eight people with a recommended limit of two households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 50% or 100 people inside, whichever is smaller, and with a maximum of six people per table. Outdoor dining will be capped at 150 people and all establishments must close by 11 p.m.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms, as well as indoor entertainment facilities, will be limited to 100 people or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 75% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 50% capacity or 150 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor services are limited to 250 people.

Remote work is encouraged, when possible.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 150 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed.

Counties in the moderate risk tier: Harney and Tillamook

Lower Risk Tier

Under the state’s lowest risk tier, social gatherings inside are limited to 10 people with a recommended limit of four households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 12 people.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 50% people inside. Outdoor dining will be capped at 300 people and all establishments must close by midnight. Table size indoors and outdoors will be limited to eight people.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms, as well as indoor entertainment facilities, will be limited to 50% capacity.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 75% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 75% capacity. Outdoor services are limited to 300 people.

Limited office work is allowed.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 300 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed.

Counties in the lower risk tier: Gilliam, Sherman, Wallowa and Wheeler

— Kale Williams; kwilliams@oregonian.com; 503-294-4048; @sfkale

The source of this article can be found, here.

Oregon Announces Two-Week ‘Pause’ on Social Gatherings in 5 Counties

This past Friday, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced new COVID-19 restrictions on five counties: Umatilla, Malheur, Marion, Jackson, and Multnomah. After several weeks of unprecedented spread, stricter measures have been placed since the initial “stay home, stay safe” measures were implemented in March. Though Oregon has been doing better limiting the spread, Brown says we need to go back to our offensive strategies against the virus. The biggest challenge is the increasing outbreak is not due to school or workplace gatherings, but small social gatherings and one-on-one meetings.

Due to the increasing COVID-19 rates, counties with exceptionally high cases will be put on a two-week pause for social gatherings, starting November 11th to November 25th. “Businesses in those counties are encouraged to have employees work from home when possible, restaurants and bars are asked to limit dining to outdoor seating or take-out whenever possible, and businesses are asked to cap their total capacity at 50” (Ross, 3). In addition, visits to long-term care facilities will also be paused and private social gatherings are asked to be limited. 

Governor Brown is frustrated at the number of Oregonians not taking restrictions seriously. Looking at the data, it is clear that not everyone is listening to the suggested guidelines. “Let me be very clear: For this two-week pause, please, please, please limit your social interactions to your own household,” Gov. Kate Brown expresses. If cases continue to rise, Brown will increase restrictions. 

The two-week pause is intended to be either a wake-up call or call to action, for those who aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously. If people do not change their behavior, COVID-19 will grow out of control.

Once a county has a rate of 200 infections per 100,000 residents, new restrictions will come into effect for two weeks or more. “There are separate metrics for smaller, rural counties. Currently, five counties — Umatilla, Malheur, Marion, Jackson, and Multnomah — have crossed the 200-case threshold and will be put under the increased restrictions” (Ross, 7). Washington, Baker, Clackamas, Union, and Linn counties are also seeing cases rise at a rapid rate and are on the border of being added to the pause list; OHA plans to reevaluate its numbers today.

It is important to remember that just because a county is not currently on the pause list, does not mean people should continue their lives as normal. 

These policy changes are also hoped to be reflected in social gatherings as well for all Oregonians. Previously, officials have raised concerns that looser COVID-19 restrictions in public could potentially result in people taking fewer precautions in their private/social lives. These new public restrictions are hoped to convince people to take more daily precautions.

“The new call for action comes as cases climb across Oregon, with a record of 805 new cases reported Thursday. On Friday, 770 new cases were reported” (Ross, 14). Oregon reported 3,542 new COVID-19 cases from the week of October 26th-November 4th; The highest number yet, 34% higher than the previous week. 

In terms of exponential growth, the rate is incredibly concerning. The numbers Oregon is seeing are far beyond what OHA expected, even in the worst-case scenario projected. The worst-case scenario presented in the new model assumed that transmission would rise by 5%, and Oregon would be seeing 520 newly diagnosed cases each day by November 19th. Increased numbers were expected in the past, but not this high. 

Oregon’s epidemiological models, predicting the increase of rates, also serve to predict hospital capacity needs; But with cases rising exponentially, models can be outdated by the time they’re published, posing additional challenges for public health officials who want to increase needed restrictions before hospitals are full, which may be inevitable.

Oregon officials think there may still be time to slow the progression of the pandemic, but with little ICU capacity left, results need to be seen fast. 

 

Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.