By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County back to high risk category

Yamhill County is back in the high risk category for COVID-19 starting today, after cases climbed more during its two-week “caution” period.

The county had just entered the low-risk category in late March, and was notified on April 5 that it was entering the caution period because cases had reached the moderate risk level.

County Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin said her department is “sad to see the increase in cases and the subsequent risk level change. We know this has enormous impacts on our business and community.”

She said the rate of positive cases has increased in the county to 5.4%.

“We ask that everyone help get us back on track by keeping gatherings small and outside, wearing masks, staying home if you’re sick, and getting vaccinated when you are able to make an appointment,” Manfrin said.

On Thursday, the county reported 20 new cases of COVID-19, bringing it to a cumulative total so far of 4,160. There have been 75 deaths in the county.

Manfrin said with the increase in positive tests, “we have assessed to make sure there is adequate testing availability. If an individual is exposed or symptomatic and unable to access testing through a healthcare provider or pharmacy, Public Health is able to test them. We also continue mobile testing for outbreak situations.”

All Oregonians 18 and older become eligible for vaccines beginning April 19, but Manfrin has noted the county is still receiving far fewer doses per week than there are people who want them.

People may sign up for notification of available appointments through the state website, at For assistance or more information, call 211, or 503-474-4100.

Earlier this week, Willamina School District reported that more than 100 students had been exposed to COVID-19 and were advised to quarantine. The campus was closed for the remainder of the week. Students will return to class Tuesday, April 27.

The Oregon Health Authority said in its weekly report that Oregon last week saw its fourth consecutive week of surging cases and increased hospitalizations. The state saw a 27% increase in cases over the previous week, from April 12 to 18, and new hospitalizations rose to 171, from 156 the previous week. There were 19 deaths.

There were 113,817 tests administered, with a positivity rate of 5.3%.

In its weekly outbreak report, the OHA noted an ongoing outbreak at the Sheridan prison, which has seen 84 associated cases since October, but said no new cases have been reported since March 31.

It noted the outbreak at Willamina Middle School, reported April 16, where three students have been diagnosed with COVID-19. One student at McMinnville High School was reported with COVID-19 on April 9, and three students were reported at Perrydale School in Amity, on March 25.

The change in risk level alters the guidance for both social interactions and business operations.

Under a high risk category, indoor gatherings should be restricted to no more than six people from no more than two households, and outdoor gatherings should include no more than eight people.

Although indoor restaurant dining is allowed, getting takeout instead is “highly recommended.”

Restaurants, gyms, theaters, museums and other indoor venues must not exceed 25% of maximum occupancy, or 50 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoors, restaurants are allowed a maximum of 75 people, and both indoors and outdoors, are limited to a maximum of six people per party and table, with a limit of two households. They must close at 11 p.m.

Retail outlets such as grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and farmers markets are limited to 50% capacity, and curbside pickup is encouraged.

Churches and other faith institutions, funeral homes and cemeteries are limited to 25% occupancy or 150 people, whichever is smaller, indoors and to a maximum of 200 people outside.

Office workers are recommended to work remotely, if possible.

Although adult outdoor full-contact sports are allowed, there is a maximum 15% occupancy.

Outdoor entertainment venues also have a maximum 15% occupancy.

Personal services are allowed.

Indoor and outdoor visitation to long-term care facilities is allowed.

The Oregon Health Authority noted in its update that Virginia Garcial Memorial Health Center has been working to ensure equity in both COVID-19 testing and in vaccination, as Black, Indigenous and people of color have been hit hardest by COVID-19. It said that mobile vaccination clinics will be offered weekly to populations such as migrant and seasonal farmworkers.



Will this affect the schools? Is there a direct correlation between the resumption of classes and the increase in Covid cases? Can we afford to take such a chance?


The war was never meant to be won.

Big Danny


Don Dix

Question -- do the county hospitals (Mac/Newberg) separate those from other counties that test positive or end up in their facilities, or do the 'extras' end up on the county total? That would make a difference in case numbers and rating.

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