Gov. Kate Brown extends state of emergency declaration as COVID-19 restrictions ease across the state
Governor Kate Brown extended Oregon’s COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration for the sixth time today as COVID-19 cases start to fall.
As many county restrictions are eased, Gov. Brown urges residents to stay vigilant and patient.
According to Executive Order 21-05, which extends the State of Emergency:
“Although we have made significant progress in distributing COVID-19 vaccines to Oregonians during the last few months, distribution of those vaccines —and the vaccines’ ability to bring community spread down to acceptable levels — will take time. The ongoing threat of COVID-19, the dramatic winter surge in cases and deaths in Oregon and nationwide during recent months, and out state’s emergency response efforts require us to stay the course, for now.”
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The state has made significant progress, with 16 of its 36 counties seeing lowered risk levels. The four different county risk levels institute different guidelines, depending on the percentage of cases per county’s population, to ensure the safety and financial stability of that county. Brown said in a statement:
“For the second time now, we are seeing great progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 across Oregon and saving lives.”
The four county risk levels include: Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk and Lower Risk. Counties at Extreme Risk cannot dine indoors and have closed offices, while counties at Lower Risk can have indoor dining with a capacity of 50% and have 75% capacity at retail stores.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) uses COVID-19 data to evaluate the risk levels, which are adjusted once every two weeks as necessary. The new rankings will take effect Friday.
“Oregonians continue to step up and make smart choices. While these county movements are welcome news, we must continue to take health seriously health and safety measures, especially as most businesses reopen and we start to get out more.”
Though progress has been made, Brown exercised caution and extended the state of emergency declaration, giving the Governor authority to close down businesses and institute a state-wide mask mandate.
The extension will last until May 2nd and will be reevaluated at that time.
“As we vaccinate thousands of Oregonians each day and reopen more school buildings and businesses as safely as possible, now is not the time to let up our guard. New, more infectious COVID-19 variants are circulating in the United States, including several confirmed cases in Oregon. We will continue to keep each other sage in the month to come by following the same safety measures we have throughout the pandemic – wearing face coverings, staying home when sick, maintaining physical distance and avoiding social gatherings.”
The state of emergency extension also allows the state to use federal COVID-19 relief and assistance benefits including assistance with vaccine distribution.