On May 11, Governor Kate Brown was joined by OHA Director Patrick Allen to talk about statewide vaccination targets, the County Risk Level framework and reopening the state’s economy. Here’s what you need to know.
County Risk Level framework may soon be coming to an end
Late last year, Governor Brown announced the creation of the County Risk Level framework in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout Oregon. There now seems to be an end in sight for its use.
Once 70% of people in Oregon ages 18 and older receive a first dose of a vaccine, most of the restrictions laid out in the framework will be lifted. Folks in Oregon may need to continue wearing masks and practice physical distancing once the milestone is reached, but all other aspects of the County Risk Level framework will be abandoned. Furthermore, Governor Brown insisted that counties must continue to close the equity gaps that persist for historically marginalized communities.
Director Allen stated that OHA will use the CDC’s data to track Oregon’s statewide progress toward the 70% vaccination goal but will continue to use Oregon’s ALERT Immunization Information System to track progress at the county level.
Vaccination progress in Oregon
While vaccination rates are slowing across the nation, Director Allen was pleased to announce that Oregon continues to see high vaccination rates.
- Just under 2 million people in Oregon have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Almost 1.5 million people in Oregon are now fully vaccinated.
- According to the CDC, 60% of all people ages 18 and older in Oregon have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The average number of vaccines administered per day in Oregon has us on schedule to vaccinate 70% of all adults in Oregon by the end of June.
- The number of vaccinated people who identify as Latino/a/x grew by 24%.
- The number of vaccinated people who identify as Black grew by 23%.
- Benton and Hood River have vaccinated more than 65% of all adult residents.
- Deschutes, Lincoln, Multnomah and Washington have vaccinated more than 60% of their adult residents.
- Clackamas, Clatsop, Lane, Polk and Tillamook have vaccinated more than 55% of their adult residents.
Chance to move to Lower Risk by May 21
Beginning May 21, counties will have the ability to move to the Lower Risk Level on a weekly basis by:
- Administering first doses of vaccine to 65% of people ages 16 and older in their county.
- Submitting a comprehensive vaccination plan to OHA that addresses equity gaps by May 14.
To help counties hit their vaccination targets, Director Allen discussed how Oregon will begin shifting away from mass vaccination clinics to a less centralized vaccination approach in the coming month.
Doses will now be transported to more familiar locations like outpatient clinics, inpatient clinics at hospitals, schools and community-based events. The plan is meant to provide options for people who have yet to be vaccinated to access vaccines more conveniently.
To ensure counties are taking steps toward closing the equity gap, public health staff at OHA will review all submitted vaccination plans and conduct follow-up discussions with each county to go over their proposals. Counties’ plans will need to include:
- Effective outreach strategies.
- Plans to ensure vaccine sites are culturally responsive, linguistically appropriate and accessible.
- Partnerships with community-based organizations (CBO).
- Partnerships with employers to provide vaccines to agricultural and other front-line workers.
- Plans to reach people experiencing houselessness.
- Vaccine confidence activities.
OHA will provide grant funding, share effective outreach strategies, distribute weekly data reports and connect counties with CBOs to assist in these endeavors.
New County Risk Levels for May 14
Until Oregon can vaccinate 70% of people ages 18 and older, the state’s County Risk Level framework will remain in effect. For the upcoming period beginning on May 14, 21 counties will remain in High Risk, seven counties will be in Moderate Risk and eight counties will be in Lower Risk.
You can view a list of current county risk levels here.
Oregon will be returning to the a two-week cycle for County Risk Level assignments, and the next updates will be announced on Tuesday, May 25 and take effect on Friday, May 28.
You can watch a full recording of today’s media availability below.