Oregon Governor Kate Brown will lift the toughest trade restrictions on nearly half of the state’s counties – and all of its largest cities – by Friday, just a week after it goes into effect stricter rules in a bid to fend off a fourth wave of COVID-19.
A full list of updated county risk levels recently released by the state is available here.
The announcement will allow restaurants in Portland, Gresham, Salem, Eugene, Bend and Medford to restart in-person food service at 25% capacity or a maximum of 50 people, whichever is lower.
It also increases capacity limits in gymnasiums, cinemas and museums, in theory allowing many to reopen.
The decision was based on a modest improvement in one metric: slower growth in the cumulative weekly total of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
The OHA calculated the weekly percentage increase in hospitalizations to 14.9%. It’s just a tenth of a percent below the 15% threshold, which is one of two statewide criteria the governor has set to trigger “tail risk” restrictions in counties. where COVID-19 is prevalent.
Oregon still meets the second criterion – more than 300 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in a single day over the past week. The maximum number of inpatients was 351 last week, up from 326 the week before.
Under the rules established by Brown, counties can reopen if just one of the hospitalization parameters falls to acceptable levels.
“Let me be clear: Statewide, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still high and Oregon is not out of the woods yet,” Brown said in a written statement. “With our hospitalization rate stabilizing statewide, our hospitals should have the capacity to continue treating patients with severe cases of COVID-19 and other serious medical conditions in the weeks to come. come.”
Hospitalizations tend to be a delayed indicator of the spread of COVID-19. As those numbers continue to rise, another indicator of the spread of COVID-19 – the seven-day average of new cases – has declined over the past six days, according to CDC data.
The governor said the pace of the vaccination should allow him to lift restrictions statewide and regain a “sense of normalcy” by the end of June.
Just a month ago, the governor sought to avoid further business closures. She demanded that the hospital’s statewide capacity be threatened before a county could be considered an extreme risk. This condition – including 300 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients statewide – was met shortly thereafter.
This week’s risk level changes will take effect on Friday. The next assignment of risk levels is expected to be announced on May 11, with effect from May 14.