Douglas County will be downgraded from “extreme risk” to “high risk,” effective Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday morning.
The risk levels are state public health guidelines designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The move is made possible after Douglas County reported 178 positive COViD-19 cases between March 7 to March 20, below the 200-per-100,000 threshold.
“Not to jinx our progress, but today we are sharing lots of good news,” the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said in its Tuesday press release. “Our new COVID-19 case count numbers, as well as our number of local hospitalized COVID-19 patients are definitely coming down.”
Douglas County had been designated extreme risk since Feb. 26, but had 65 positive cases last week. With similar results from March 20 through March 26, the county could be eligible to be lowered to moderate risk.
With the county dropping to high risk designation, many businesses will be allowed to resume certain activities — including indoor dining at restaurants and other establishments — under capacity limitations.
The move to high risk also means that interscholastic athletics — specifically volleyball and basketball, which have been categorized as contact sports — can be played indoors, although with limitations on total capacity within those venues.
Coos County, already in the extreme risk category, will be joined by Curry County as the only two counties with that designation. An increase in cases in Josephine and Klamath counties has placed both into a two-week caution period.
The county response team reported seven new positive test results Tuesday, and said that three county residents were receiving hospital treatment, two of them locally. The county did cross the 2,800-case plateau, with its total rising to 2,806 as of Tuesday.
The three hospitalized patients are the lowest for Douglas County since Jan. 2.
There are 125 positive cases presently in isolation and another 206 contacts in quarantine.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 316 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases and two new deaths, raising the state’s death toll to 2,367. Both of the reported deceased lived in Coos County, and one reportedly passed away at CHI Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.
Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer will be holding a Facebook Live event on the Douglas Public Health Network Facebook page Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The next drive-thru testing clinic is scheduled for Friday.