Governor Brown, OHA leadership discuss reopening

Governor Kate Brown was joined by OHA Director Patrick Allen and State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger to discuss Oregon’s progress towards the statewide vaccination goal and imminent reopening. Here’s what you need to know.

Oregon nearing 70% vaccination goal

Governor Brown proudly announced that Oregon — after more than 15 months battling the pandemic — was nearing the 70% statewide vaccination threshold. As of June 25, more than 2.3 million people in Oregon had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Thanks to widespread availability and adoption of the vaccines, our case rates are declining and our communities are safer,” said Governor Brown.

Governor Brown commended Oregon’s willingness to practice preventive safety measures that kept COVID-19 case rates some of the lowest in the nation throughout the course of the pandemic and thanked residents for their collective vaccination efforts.

Reopening by June 30

On May 11, Governor Brown announced that Oregon could all but terminate its County Risk Level framework once 70% of Oregon residents ages 18 and older were vaccinated against COVID-19. However, during the June 25 press conference, she announced that she would be signing an executive order to eliminate the framework by June 30 at the latest.

“As I have detailed before, that means no more statewide mask mandates in most settings, no required capacity limits and no required physical distancing,” said Governor Brown. “It means, effectively, Oregon is 100% open for business.”

If Oregon manages to vaccinate 70% of its residents ages 18 and older before June 30, the framework will be terminated on that day.

When that time arrives, OHA’s COVID-19 data reporting will change as well. Weekend and holiday reporting will come to an end, while weekday reporting of cases, vaccinations, hospitalizations and other data will continue.

Life after reopening

While Oregon’s overall vaccination progress has been promising, Governor Brown acknowledged that COVID-19 wouldn’t be disappearing overnight and its disproportionate effects on Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Tribal communities continue to persist.

“Disparities that existed before are even wider now,” said Governor Brown. “I am incredibly grateful of the work that our local health partners and community-based organizations have done to reach Oregonians from communities of color to make progress closing the equity gaps in our vaccination efforts.”

Governor Brown announced that — in addition to eliminating the County Risk Level framework — her new executive order will also be used to support the state’s recovery from the pandemic.

“This action will give Oregon the flexibility and access to resources needed to aid in our recovery efforts,” said Governor Brown.

 Vaccinations by the numbers

OHA Director Patrick Allen took time to highlight some of the key figures documenting Oregon’s vaccination progress. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Oregon has vaccinated 69% of its adults.
  • Oregon ranks 18th in the nation in terms of total population who have received at least one dose (2,365,492 people total).
  • Eight counties have vaccinated 65% or more of their residents ages 16 and older.
  • Fourteen counties have vaccinated fewer than 50% of their residents who are 16 and older.
  • Growth in vaccination rates among younger people exceeds the rate of growth among older adults.
  • Over the past week, vaccination rates among Blacks, American Indians/Alaskan Natives and the Hispanic/Latinx community all grew by 1.4%–1.6%.

Director Allen recognized the central role nonprofits have played in bolstering vaccination efforts throughout the state and thanked the Oregon Marshallese Community Association, the Latino Community Association, Seed of Faith Ministries, UTOPIA PDX and the Q Center for their work.

COVID-19 response shifting to local level

In the June 4 press conference, Director Allen and Dr. Sidelinger made reference to a “tale of two pandemics,” calling attention to the different realities that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals face in the ongoing pandemic. In the June 25 event, Director Allen elaborated upon much of the same.

“Nearly every person who died of COVID-19 in the past month (98%) was unvaccinated,” said Director Allen. “Yet, today, seven counties need to vaccinate more than 10,000 people just to achieve a 65% vaccination rate among people 16 and older.”

As the state prepares to lift the County Risk Level framework, Director Allen noted that it will be the responsibility of county commissioners and local public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19. While OHA will continue to collect and report data, it will be up to local health officials to conduct case investigations, contact tracing, vaccination efforts and safety interventions.

“For the past 16 months, we’ve needed an ‘all together’ pandemic response to confront a new and deadly threat,” said Director Allen. “But now, with infections down statewide and vaccinations up, we can shift from a statewide posture to a footing that looks different in each community, depending on their local risks.”

Despite the shift, OHA will continue to help local health officials as they coordinate necessary responses in their respective communities.

70% not the end

While Oregon’s progress towards 70% has spelled the end of the County Risk Level framework, Director Allen noted that more vaccinations are needed.

“We will vaccinate 80% of adults from tribes and from Black, Latino/Latina, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Asian communities,” said Director Allen. “We’re also committed to forging on past 70% for all adults and work toward reaching as much as 80% of all adults before we’re through.”

To meet these goals, Director Allen announced that OHA would be expanding nonprofit-sponsored vaccination events and implementing canvassing campaigns in under-vaccinated communities.

Get vaccinated

Vaccination is the safest and most effective way for all people in Oregon to get back to doing the things they love. If you are 12 or older, visit OHA’s Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon webpage to schedule your vaccine appointment today. Individuals who get vaccinated by June 27 will automatically be eligible for the $1 Million prize available through the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign.

You can watch a full recording of the June 25 press conference below.

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