Clatsop County will move into moderate risk for the coronavirus beginning Friday as virus case counts taper.
The county has been at the state’s high-risk designation for the virus since late April.
Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced that starting June 1 county risk level changes will be announced weekly instead of every two weeks.
Counties facing moves back up in risk level will be given a caution period to focus on bringing case counts back down. Most restrictions will be lifted when 70% of Oregonians 16 or older receive at least one dose of the vaccine.
Counties where 65% of people 16 and older have received at least one dose were given the option to move into lower risk, a way for counties to begin loosening restrictions ahead of the state’s 70% goal.
About 59% of people 16 and older in Clatsop County have received at least one dose, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
“The science is clear: vaccines are very effective in keeping people safe from COVID-19, and they are the key to returning to normal life and lifting health and safety restrictions statewide,” Brown said in a statement. “This disease remains dangerous for those in communities with high rates of unvaccinated individuals. That’s why I’m encouraging all Oregonians to roll up your sleeves, take your shot and get a chance to change your life. It’s never been easier to get vaccinated, and you may just end up a winner through the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign.”
Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones, along with the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce and Warrenton Mayor Henry Balensifer, had called on the governor last week to eliminate the warning week for counties moving into lower risk levels for the coronavirus.
“We certainly expressed pretty strongly that we thought — at least going down — the warning week was ... harmful,” Jones said. “It didn’t help us and it did hurt us, so I’m glad that they removed it.”
Clatsop County is one of three counties that will be at moderate risk through June 3. Fifteen counties will be at high risk and 18 will be at lower risk.
Counties with a population of 30,000 or more are evaluated for risk based on virus cases per 100,000 over two weeks and the test positivity rate for the same period.
Counties at moderate risk have a case rate between 50 and 100 per 100,000 people, and may have a test positivity between 5% and 8%.
As of Saturday, Clatsop County had 79 cases per 100,000 over a two-week period. Test positivity was 3.4%.
Capacity for indoor dining at restaurants and bars in counties at moderate risk is 50% or 100 people, whichever is smaller, with an 11 p.m. closing time and a maximum of six people per table. Up to 150 people can dine outdoors. Tables must be limited to eight people.
Gyms, indoor pools, museums, theaters and other entertainment venues can operate at 50% of capacity or 100 people total, whichever is smaller. Indoor full-contact sports are prohibited.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, retail shops and shopping malls can operate at 75% of capacity.
Churches can convene at 50% occupancy indoors or 150 people total, whichever is smaller, and 250 people outdoors.
Indoor social gatherings must be limited to eight people from two households in counties at moderate risk. Outdoor gatherings can have 10 people.
Indoor and outdoor visits are allowed at long-term care facilities.
Employers should recommend remote work if able.
The county has recorded 1,004 virus cases since the pandemic began. According to the county, 25 were hospitalized and eight have died.