New cases of Covid-19 are falling precipitously in Clackamas County and across the state — but that’s no longer the metric that everyone is watching.
Earlier this month, Governor Kate Brown announced that future reopening decisions would be based not on case counts but vaccination rates — with counties able to reopen businesses and event venues at the lowest risk level when 65% of its eligible population is immunized — while most restrictions would vanish altogether when the statewide rate for adults tops 70%.
As of Tuesday, both marks are tantalizingly close.
In Clackamas County, 60.2% of residents 16 and older have gotten their jabs, while the statewide rates (which is based on CDC data and includes only those 18 and older) is at 64.3%.
If either — or both — of those thresholds are achieved by Friday, June 11, it would mean a single in-person graduation ceremony for Canby High School — rather than splitting the Class of 2021 into two cohorts.
And it would almost certainly mean the return of some version of the Clackamas County Fair and Canby Rodeo, with the fair board meeting June 10 to determine the ultimate fate of both 2021 events.
On Tuesday, Brown announced five new counties would be moving to low risk — including Clackamas’ larger Portland metro area neighbor to the north: Multnomah County, which has vaccinated 67% of eligible residents.
“The science is clear,” Brown said in a statement. “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.
“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.”
That last bit was an allusion to the state’s “Take Your Shot Oregon” campaign, which is offering the chance to win up to $1 million in federal coronavirus relief dollars to Oregonians simply for getting vaccinated.
Brown also announced that businesses in low-risk counties will have the option of creating vaccinated sections starting Thursday, May 27. Additional guidance for business owners is expected from the Oregon Health Authority later this week.
When 70% of adults have received at least their first dose of vaccine, Oregon will lift all risk level health and safety restrictions, Brown said, with the exception of some mask and physical distancing guidelines based on CDC recommendations.
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