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02 Dec 2020 | 05:37 PM UTC

US: Officials in Oregon, to launch four-tier system for tracking COVID-19 activity by county, imposing local restrictions starting Dec. 3

Officials in Oregon, US, to launch four-tier system for tracking COVID-19 activity by county, imposing local restrictions starting Dec. 3

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Authorities in Oregon will launch a multi-tier color-coded system starting Dec. 3, which will enable them to track coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity within each of the state's 36 counties and impose localized restrictions accordingly. Under the new system, counties will be categorized at one of four levels, ranging from the Lower Risk (or "green") level to the Extreme Risk (or "red") level, with each involving increasingly tight restrictions. Under the Lower Risk (green) level, social gatherings of up to 10 people indoors and 12 people outdoors are allowed. Food and drink establishments can offer indoor dining at 50-percent capacity, as well as outdoor dining for up to 300 people; they must, however, close nightly by 0001. Gyms and fitness centers, and other indoor entertainment businesses, such as theaters and arenas, may operate at 50-percent capacity; retail stores, malls, and faith institutions may open at 75-percent capacity. Outdoor establishments are restricted to no more than 300 people. Between Dec. 3-17, four counties will be at the Lower Risk level: Gilliam, Sherman, Wallowa, and Wheeler.

Under the Moderate Risk (or yellow) level, social gatherings of up to eight people indoors and 10 people outdoors are allowed. Food and drink establishments may offer indoor dining at 50-percent capacity, or a maximum of 100 people; outdoor dining is limited to 150 people and establishments must close nightly by 2300. Gyms, fitness centers, and other indoor entertainment businesses can operate at 50-percent capacity or a maximum of 100 people; retail stores and malls can operate at 75-percent capacity. Faith institutions may open at 50-percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people indoors or 250 people outdoors. Outdoor establishments are restricted to no more than 150 people. Between Dec. 3-17, two counties will be at the Moderate Risk level: Harney and Tillamook.

Under the High Risk (or orange) level, social gatherings of up to six people indoors and eight people outdoors are allowed. Food and drink establishments may offer indoor dining at 25-percent capacity, or a maximum of 50 people; outdoor dining is limited to 75 people and establishments must close nightly by 2300. Gyms, fitness centers, and other indoor entertainment businesses can operate at 25-percent capacity or a maximum of 50 people, while retail stores and malls can operate at 50-percent capacity. Faith institutions may open at 25-percent capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people indoors or 200 people outdoors. Outdoor establishments are limited to 75 people. Between Dec. 3-17, five counties will be at the High Risk level: Benton, Clatsop, Coos, Curry, and Lincoln.

Under the Extreme Risk (or red) level, social gatherings of up to six people indoors or outdoors are allowed. Food and drink establishments cannot offer indoor dining; outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of 50 people and establishments must close nightly by 2300. Gyms, fitness centers, and other indoor entertainment businesses must close; retail stores and malls can operate at 50-percent capacity. Faith institutions may open at 25-percent capacity, up to a maximum of 100 people indoors or 150 people outdoors. Outdoor establishments are limited to 50 people. Office-based businesses must require employees to work from home whenever possible. Between Dec. 3-17, the remaining 25 counties will be at the Extreme Risk level, including the most populated ones in the state - Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Lane, and Marion.

Statewide, personal care businesses may operate, and residents over the age of five must wear protective facemasks in indoor settings and in outdoor settings when social distancing is not possible. Authorities have also urged residents to avoid any nonessential travel, and encourage out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Additional restrictions may be imposed in the coming days, depending on COVID-19 activity.  

Advice

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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