Governor announces vaccination goals for reopening local economies

Governor Kate Brown today announced new metrics for reopening the economy, saying that when 70% of Oregonians 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, most risk-level restrictions would be lifted. She said she felt confident that the goal would be reached by the end of June. A Governor’s Office news release is available here.

Additionally, beginning May 21, counties that reach 65% vaccination of residents 16 and older will have the option to move to Lower Risk by submitting a plan to close equity gaps in vaccination. Two counties have already reached 65%, four are above 60%, and five are above 55%. In Malheur County, current data shows that just over 31% of the eligible population has been vaccinated. That number does not include the estimated 1,800 Malheur County residents who received a vaccine in Idaho but the additional doses, once factored in, still aren’t enough to hit the target.

“Best case is that 39% of our eligible population has received at least one dose of vaccine,” Malheur County Health Department Director Sarah Poe said. “That means we still have thousands of people who need to be vaccinated.”

The Governor’s announcement comes a day after the Oregon Health Authority posted the latest Risk Level Metrics report showing Malheur County’s two-week case count at 64, up from 37 the week prior. School outbreaks make up the majority of the cases, but there continues to be sporadic infection throughout the community as well. COVID-19-related deaths are also rising locally. Four people have died since mid-April: a female in her 50s, a female in her 80s, a male in his 60s, and a male in his 80s.

Gov. Brown also announced new county risk levels today. Malheur County will remain at High Risk. A complete list of counties and their risk levels is available here.

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