Clackamas Is Next County To Enter Lower Risk Category

Clackamas County is poised to move into the lower risk category as it closes in on vaccinating 65% of all adults, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday. 

The move will put the entire tri-county region of Portland, including Multnomah and Washington counties, in the lower risk category because of high vaccination rates.

Clackamas County was slightly short of the goal when the state announced county movement in the COVID-19 risk framework earlier this week. Counties become eligible to move into the lower risk category when they vaccinate 65% of adults or have lower COVID-19 case levels. The lower risk category gives restaurants and other businesses more capacity with fewer restrictions to operate.

Clackamas’ movement will put 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties in the lower risk category but only seven others have reached or exceeded the 65% goal: Lane, Washington, Multnomah, Hood River, Benton, Lincoln, and Deschutes.

Meanwhile, Brown continues to push Oregonians to get vaccinated so the state will reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of all adults 18 and older. When that happens, the state’s risk level framework for counties will end. That will end capacity limits and other restrictions such as masks in most places for all counties, regardless of their individual vaccination rates. 

“We are so close to fully reopening our economy,” Brown said in a press conference. 

Oregon’s current statewide vaccination rate is slightly above 67%, as more than 2.3 million Oregonians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which usually requires two doses spaced several weeks apart unless it’s the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Oregon needs to vaccinate about 93,000 more people to hit 70%. Statewide, roughly 10,000-15,000 people a day are being vaccinated, although the numbers fluctuate day by day.

Brown told reporters she still expects to see the state hit the target in June.

“This is an all hands on deck moment,” Brown said. “We are all anxious for the Oregon economy to reopen. We all miss seeing our friends and family.”

Brown continues to push the lottery prizes that those who are vaccinated are eligible for. There’s a $1 million lottery prize drawing on June 28, along with a $10,000 prize for one person in each of Oregon’s 36 counties.

Everyone is automatically entered in the drawings if they get a shot.

Brown also wants to include Oregonians vaccinated in ways that aren’t currently captured in the state’s database, such as through federal VA clinics or out-of-state clinics. To register for the lottery prize drawings, Brown said, those Oregonians can go to takeyourshot.oregon.gov. The site also has answers to questions about the drawings.

Brown plugged other freebies aimed at vaccine-hesitant Oregonians: the Oregon Convention Center will give away 1,500 $100 gift cards to Fred Meyer and Safeway to people who get a Johnson & Johnson shot before the site closes. Oregon Health & Science University is offering a similar incentive at the Portland International Airport and in Hillsboro.

You can reach Ben Botkin at [email protected] or via Twitter @BenBotkin1

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