Clatsop County will remain at high risk for the coronavirus on Friday as virus case counts steady.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that while virus cases and hospitalizations are still high across Oregon, the state hospitalization metric has been met, allowing counties at extreme risk to return to high risk.

Vaccine

Steve Siler prepares a syringe of Moderna vaccine at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.

“From the beginning, I have said that returning counties to the extreme risk level was about preserving hospital capacity and saving lives,” Brown said in a statement. “With our statewide hospitalization rate stabilizing, our hospitals should have the capacity to continue treating patients with severe cases of COVID-19 and other serious medical conditions in the coming weeks.

“With Oregonians continuing to get vaccinated each week, my expectation is that we will not return to extreme risk again for the duration of this pandemic,” the governor said. “I know this will bring relief to many across the state. However, the lifting of extreme risk health and safety measures comes with great personal responsibility for us all. If Oregonians continue to keep up their guard, follow high risk health and safety measures, and get vaccinated as fast as possible, we should see our COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates decline.

“Vaccinations are still our best path to protecting our loved ones, and staying on track to fully reopen our economy by the end of June.”

Clatsop County is one of 24 counties that will be at high risk through May 13. Four counties will be at moderate risk and eight 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 high risk have a case rate between 100 and 200 per 100,000 people, and may have a test positivity between 8% and 10%.

As of Saturday, Clatsop County had 155 cases per 100,000 over a two-week period. Test positivity was 6.3%.

Restaurants and bars can continue indoor dining at 25% of capacity — or up to 50 people — with an 11 p.m. closing time. Up to 75 people can dine outdoors, with a limit of six people per table from two households.

Gyms, indoor pools, museums, theaters and other entertainment venues can operate at 25% of capacity, or up to 50 people, whichever is smaller.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, retail shops and shopping malls can operate at 50% of capacity.

Churches can operate at 25% of capacity or 150 people indoors, whichever is smaller, and 200 people outdoors.

Indoor social gatherings must be limited to six people from two households in counties at high risk. Outdoor gatherings can have eight people.

Businesses should urge employees to work remotely if able.

Visits are allowed at long-term care facilities.

The county has recorded 955 cases since the start of the pandemic. According to the county, 24 were hospitalized and eight have died.

As of Friday, 12,513 people were fully vaccinated. The county’s goal to reach herd immunity against the virus is vaccinating 27,533 people.

The Oregon Health Authority has reported 188,417 cases and 2,509 deaths from the virus statewide as of Wednesday.

Margo Lalich, the county’s interim public health director, said many of the county’s new cases are tied to workplace and household outbreaks.

“This is the new normal until we continue to increase our vaccination rate and more and more people develop passive immunity, which comes from actually being infected,” Lalich said during a county Board of Commissioners work session Tuesday. “Ideally, of course, we want as many people vaccinated as possible.

“We continue to receive support on our case investigation and contact tracing from OHA (Oregon Health Authority). They partner with us seven days a week and it’s been a tremendous amount of help and support as well.”

Nicole Bales is a reporter for The Astorian, covering police, courts and county government. Contact her at 971-704-1724 or nbales@dailyastorian.com.