News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

County improves from “Extreme” to “High Risk”

As of February 12, indoor dining and other activities can return to Sisters, as Deschutes County moves from the “Extreme Risk” category for COVID-19 spread to the “High Risk” category.

Governor Kate Brown announced Tuesday that 12 counties improved in risk level, with 10 improving from Extreme Risk for the first time since November, effective February 12.

County risk levels under the state’s public health framework aim to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. The framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level.

Effective February 12 through February 25, there will be 14 counties in the Extreme Risk level, 11 at High Risk, three at Moderate Risk, and eight at Lower Risk.

The changes allow for indoor dining at restricted capacity; more outdoor dining capacity; gyms and health clubs can move to 25 percent capacity or 50 people (whichever is lower) . Outdoor recreation facilities can move from 50 people to 75 people. Long-term care facilities will be allowed to have inside visitation.

“Thanks to Oregonians who have stepped up and made smart choices, we have made incredible progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives in Oregon,” said Governor Brown. “This week we will see 10 counties move out of Extreme Risk, including the Portland tri-county area, for the first time since November. This is welcome news, as we’ll start to see more businesses open up and Oregonians being able to get out a bit more.

”It’s also incredibly important that we continue to remain vigilant and protect our neighbors and loved ones as we face virulent new strains of COVID-19. This means continuing to wear masks, keep our physical distance, and avoid indoor gatherings. If we want to keep businesses open, reopen schools for in-person instruction, and stay safe, we must keep up our guard. Until vaccines are more widely available, case counts could go back up if we don’t keep following safety measures.”

The Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly. County risk levels will be reassigned every two weeks. The first week’s data will provide a “warning week” to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will be announced February 23 and take effect February 26.

Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to


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