Douglas County moves to ‘Extreme’ risk category over rise in COVID-19 cases
Written by Patrick Schneider on February 23, 2021
Douglas County, Ore. – The recent surge in COVID cases over the last two weeks have prompted the State of Oregon to move Douglas County from the State’s Mandated High COVID Risk Level to the State’s Mandated Extreme COVID Risk Level, thus imposing stricter guidelines on Douglas County residents and businesses.
The county will move to the State’s Mandated Extreme Risk Level beginning on Friday, February 26, 2021,
Public health officials, coupled with local outbreak data and statistics, have stated very clearly that COVID-19 is spreading in Oregon and in Douglas County for reasons unrelated to businesses being open. According to the data analysts, cases at restaurants, bars and gyms accounted for only 1% of total positive cases in the last two weeks. Local data for COVID cases showed that of the current 280 active COVID cases that DPHN is supporting in isolation:
- There are NO COVID outbreaks created or active at any gyms, restaurants or bars in Douglas County.
- Of those 280 active cases, there has only been 4 positive cases associated with any gyms, restaurants or bars in Douglas County.
- Currently, there are no other employees at any other gyms, restaurants or bars that have active or positive cases at this time.
Commissioners weighed in on the states new risk movement. “As we have asserted before, your Douglas County Commissioners do not support county “enforcement’ of State issued COVID guidelines. Instead, as the local public health authority, we feel it is paramount for State of Oregon Officials to provide easy to understand, timely access to the latest information, resources and medical guidance in order to educate residents about COVID-19 that allows them to make informed, responsible decisions,” Douglas County Commissioners stated. “We feel that most people will do the right thing, if given the opportunity and knowledge to do so. We cannot in good conscience, condone citing or potentially arresting people for trying to make an honest living. While we understand the need for increased measures to slow the spread of the virus due to the recent dramatic increase in local COVID-19 cases, we do not agree with a statewide mandated approach. Further, Douglas County Government will not enforce the mandates for these somewhat draconian rules against our citizens mandated without local consultation.”
For many businesses, the restrictions in serving customers can be strict. For restaurants, indoor dining is prohibited, however outdoor dining is fine. Gyms that are 500 sq. ft. or larger, cannot have more than six people total (not including employees) and require a minimum 25 feet physical distancing between households.
Douglas County Commissioners recommend that residents contact one of the state legislators representing their district, and ask them to engage in the fight to help our local business and residents. There are seven state legislators that represent a portion of Douglas County.