COVID-19 update graphic

For the first time ever, Douglas County will drop to the moderate risk category for COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.

Douglas County was initially placed in the extreme risk level when the levels were first put in place in December. It has fluctuated between high and extreme risk ever since.

Until now.

But while Douglas County received good news this week, 15 counties in the state were put on notice that they will be bumped up to extreme risk on Friday. That’s a risk level that had been eliminated in recent weeks.

But hospitalization rates are on the rise, pushing hospitals near maximum capacity. So state health officials determined that new restrictions were necessary.

Gov. Kate Brown announced the new risk levels on Tuesday.

She said counties won’t remain in extreme risk beyond three weeks. By then, health officials have said they believe vaccination levels will rise enough to turn the tide.

In Douglas County, case rates have steadily declined over the past month.

For the two-week period between April 11 and April 24, there were 103 new cases, or 91.8 per 100,000 people.

In the two-week period between April 4 and April 17, there were 121 cases, or 107.8 per 100,000 people.

In the two-week period between March 28 and April 10 there were 141 cases, or 125.6 per 100,000 people.

The county did see an uptick in cases Tuesday, however, with the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reporting 16 new cases.

Eleven county residents are hospitalized with the illness, seven locally and four out of the area.

With the new moderate risk level, restaurants and theaters in Douglas County will be able to increase from 25% to 50% maximum occupancy or from 50 people to 100.

Retail stores can move up from 50% to 75% occupancy.

Churches can increase from 25% to 50% occupancy at indoor services, though the maximum number will remain at 150.

Remote work will still be recommended, not required, where possible.

Outdoor gyms and entertainment will increase from 15% to 25% occupancy.

Indoor gyms will increase from 25% to 50% occupancy or from 50 to 100 people.

The county’s progress runs opposite to Oregon’s as a whole. The state is entering a fourth surge, the governor said in a press conference Friday.

Brown said she will now be updating county risk levels weekly rather than every other week.

Counties with higher case rates will only be placed in extreme risk if statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations rise above 300 beds during one of the past seven days and there’s a 15% increase in the seven-day hospitalization average over the past week.

Hospitalizations peaked at 328 over the past week and there’s a 37% increase in the average.

New risk levels will take effect each Friday.

“If we don’t act now, doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers in Oregon will be stretched to their limits treating severe cases of COVID-19,” Brown said in a Tuesday press release. “Today’s announcement will save lives and help stop COVID-19 hospitalizations from spiking even higher.”

On Tuesday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 740 new cases and two new deaths.

Counties moving to extreme risk include Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Wasco. Nine are in high risk, four are in moderate risk and eight are listed at lower risk.

The governor said she will work with the Legislature on a $20 million emergency relief package to aid businesses in extreme risk counties.

Brown also urged Oregonians to get vaccinated.

“The fastest way to lift health and safety restrictions is for Oregonians to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and follow the safety measures we know stop this virus from spreading,” she said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(11) comments


What are some people going to complain about when this virus is over???


Hmmm ... using a different computer and I accidentally posted an unfinished comment.

An observation ... Mike had drastically reduced his posts about covid and changed the tone also. So why pick an argument now, Ghost? It doesn't make sense. He had actually given his critics what they claimed they wanted -- for him to shut up -- although I'm guessing he did it for his own reasons and not to please you.

Oregon has one of the highest rates of increasing infection in the nation, people are resisting the vaccine, young people are in the hospital on ECMO machines, the leader of the anti-mask brigade represents this area in the state senate -- we're probably not far behind the rest of the state. It makes celebrating a two-week drop in cases difficult.

Ghost, I am sorry you are still feeling so frustrated that you felt the need to lash out without provocation at sycophants and the like. Here are some synonyms for sycophants for people who don't regularly use the word -- toady, creep, lickspittle, fawner, suck-up, brown-nose, ar$e-licker, minion, doormat, and my fave -- [censored].

Do you really expect to gain support for your point of view when you call people who don't support the commissioners [censored]? Not very nice.


34 Oregonians with coronavirus are currently on ventilators according to the OHA. That's the highest number since January 31st.

31 Oregonians with coronavirus in region 3 (Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane Counties) are currently in ICU according to the OHA. That's the highest number since March 8th.

Douglas County had 26 new coronavirus cases over the past two days. Three reported deaths of Douglas County residents have occurred over the past 3 days.


The more common synonyms are groupie, lackey, adulator and minion -- but hey, choose whichever ones fit your ridiculous "outrage." It's interesting that you feel you are some self appointed moderator of what is acceptable or not acceptable in these comments sections. Yet, when it fits you, you criticize "Mike" -- but apparently those are for legitimate reasons as opposed to when anyone else does it. It must be nice view up there on the moral high ground. Despite you and Mike's visions of grandeur -- you are just a couple of anonymous people with no special influence or standing in the community who share random thoughts on a comment section -- and get moments of personal self fulfillment when a couple of people agree with your opinions. Nothing more, nothing less. Just like me. Get over yourselves.


An observation here ... Mike had drastically reduced the number of h


THREE Douglas County Residents died from coronavirus over the weekend and the News-Review never mentioned a word about it in the printed versions of the paper Friday, Sunday or Tuesday. The News-Review just increased the death count total listed on page 3 to 69

Meanwhile, a van crash in Salem and a deaf driver pulled over by police in Salem both made page 3 on Tuesday. Douglas County deaths from a terrible disease don't even rate a mention in the printed version of the News-Review, or should I say FOX news.


Since everything bad that happens related to COVID is the fault of the County Commissioners (in the opinion of "Mike" and his band of sycophants) -- how are you going to spin this news to fit your conspiracy theory narratives? I'm sure you are not going to give credit to them for going to moderate -- but they were all completely to blame when we went to extreme. Battling COVID is a much more complex issue than the simple narratives that are written in these comments sections. It involves political, public health, public information, and cultural solutions at all levels of federal, state and local government. Infection rates rising and falling involve all of those factors -- and putting all of the blame or credit on one thing lacks understanding and the intellect needed to address the complexity of the problem. However, I don't see much motivation for many on here to actually find solutions -- its more about just assigning all the blame to a few elected officials. A microcosm of a the problem we see at the national level every day.

Marine Vet

Churches can increase from 25% to 50% occupancy at indoor services, though the maximum number will remain at 150... This will Ensure that Douglas County has Yet another Spike in cases. Using the Factual Pattern Reported by this Newspaper. A Majority of All Covid-19 cases in Douglas County have Roots in the Church's. From the very beginning of All this.


Blame was earned by County Commissioners Tim Freeman and Chris Boice when they BOTH publicly declared the governor's coronavirus restrictions don't work in Douglas County. Furthermore, they both claimed to know what restrictions do work in Douglas County, but repeatedly failed to say what those restrictions were.

Meanwhile, it appears the governor's restrictions are indeed working.


Personally, I'm giving local businesses credit. Sherm's, for example, has become very strict with their mask policy. I haven't seen anybody go maskless there in months. I appreciate their effort in keeping their customers safe.

As for the rest of your post, polls have shown that Republicans are the ones who struggle with mask wearing and getting vaccines. That's not a coincidence. That's due to elected officials and filters down from there. Go ahead and bury your head in the sand if you want, but the rest of us like to breathe clean air and see with our eyes wide open.


You're going to need to describe this "conspiracy theory" you allude to. As written is reads as though you're just having a tough time accepting that county commissioners could have made better decisions about how they allowed their political convictions to influence their actions. Did you miss a couple things? Like this one: -- and maybe this one: -- it wasn't that complex to just follow the governor's mandates, they changed as more knowledge was gained about the virus and how it was affecting Oregon counties. It wasn't that difficult to NOT fall in league with the county's pet insurrectionist, whose political convictions made him feel he had the right to influence entire congregations about the big hoax of a deadly virus; how'd that work out for them as Winter set in? As for motivation to "do anything", you do realize that commissioners are paid very well to manage the county, do you not? As a "sychophant", I'd like to suggest you do your very best at separating your politics from your personal feelings concerning this deadly virus. Mixing the two only makes you appear confused over what's occurred over the last 14 months and does very little but make us all in readerville understand that you wear your political convictions on your sleeve.

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