One-third of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks linked to two large local faith based organizations
Written by Patrick Schneider on January 26, 2021
Douglas County, Ore. – The State of Oregon has evaluated current COVID-19 risks for counties across the state. With some daily case counts numbering in the twenties, Douglas County faced being placed in the Extreme Risk category.
After review, the State of Oregon notified Douglas County yesterday, that the county will remain at the risk current level based on the county’s COVID-19 case count over the last two weeks.
The high risk level allows business the opportunity to be open, with some restrictions and limitations on capacity. There are some changes made to the High Risk category. As part of the new state COVID risk and safety mandates instituted in December 2020, Senior Centers and Hookah are not allowed to operate regardless of the risk level in their county.
In a press release from Douglas County, County Commissioners stated, “We want to continue to thank our residents and businesses for staying within the recommended guidelines, and for making good decisions in order for our communities to stay open. The new risk level does not affect the ability of faith based organizations and local school districts to offer in-person services and classes. They are able to make decisions for their own congregations and educational programs,”
State and local health officials say that Douglas County case counts are “still concerning” even though low enough to remain in the High Risk category.
For the past two weeks, Douglas County reported 220 new COVID cases. During recent case investigations, health officials found that almost one-third of cases in the last two weeks have been linked to two large local faith based organization outbreaks. “These outbreaks have had a dramatic impact on our communities, our businesses and our residents. We do want to recognize and applaud the efforts of the majority of our local faith based organizations for proving that you can provide a wide range of safe and COVID-free in-person and online options for their congregations,” health officials stated. “Of particular note, we have not had any large outbreaks related to the gyms, restaurants or bars that have re-opened over the last month with our State mandated risk level.”
Health officials say the rest of the recent cases “are the unfortunate consequence of residents who continue to host celebrations and parties, travel to COVID hot spot areas, invite people to visit from out of the area and attended in-person unprotected congregate social gatherings where COVID-19 safety measures were not being followed.”
Health official urged residents, “Please, for the sake of our local businesses, services and residents, we encourage you to gauge your risk level, and make the best choice in order protect yourself and those around you.”
Douglas County will remain in the High Risk Level for the next two-week period, beginning Friday, January 29, 2021 and continuing through Thursday, February 11, 2021.