By News-Register staff • 

County reduced to 'High' risk level; indoor dining, recreation, entertainment can resume Friday

Updated Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.: The state announced Tuesday that Yamhill County, along with neighboring Polk and Marion counties, has been lowered from Extreme to High risk level, meaning that limited indoor dining, recreation and entertainment is allowed starting Friday. 

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The Oregon Health Authority reported 184 cases for Yamhill County in the two-week period from Feb. 6-20, which would result in moving from the “Extreme” to “High” risk level beginning Friday, Feb. 26.

That would allow indoor dining at restaurants to resume with 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller, along with indoor recreation and entertainment activities.

Yamhill County reported 28 COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing the total to 3,731. No new COVID-19 deaths in the county were reported in that time frame.

Thirteen other counties across the state are currently in the extreme risk category, eleven are in the high risk level, two are in the moderate level, and nine are in the lower risk category.

While changes to county risk levels won’t be made official from the state until today, Yamhill County’s case count is within the range of 100 to 200 cases per 100,000 population that qualifies for the High risk category.

Oregon added 647 cases and 6 deaths over the weekend. The new COVID-19 forecast shows a slight increase in transmission, the OHA said Friday. People’s openness to resuming certain activities and the possible dominance of COVID-19 variants could accelerate the spread, OHA said.

The U.S. COVID-19 death toll reached 500,000 Sunday. The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but one-fifth of COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to NBC.

Linfield University reported one case between Feb. 15 - 18 among students and employees.

George Fox University reported 3 cases of COVID-19 among on-campus students from Feb. 12 - 18, and none among students living off campus.

An infant born prematurely died the same day he tested positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority announced last week. He lived for two days and is the state’s youngest COVID victim.

Yamhill County has vaccinated 11,575 people with one or both doses of the COVID vaccine, as of Monday. That’s about 10% of the county’s total population.

On Friday, the countie’s health department announced a drive-thru vaccination clinic would occur Thursday at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. The reservation spots filled quickly after the county emailed those who have registered for vaccine appointments.

“If you cannot make a reservation this week or if slots are full when you go to sign up, we will be continuously offering clinics in the subsequent weeks as we get more vaccine and you will get more emails with chances to schedule,” said Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin.

Those eligible for vaccination can be added to the registration list by signing up online at hhs.co.yamhill.or.us/publichealth/page/covid-19-vaccines. For more information, call 503-474-4100.

In the state, 535,782 people, or about 12.5% of the population, have received one or both doses.

Oregon is on schedule to begin vaccinating people over the age of 70 this week.

There are inequities in how the state has distributed the vaccine to people of different races and ethnicities. For example, while Latinos, who are 13% of the state’s population, have comprised 26% of COVID-19 cases, only 5% of vaccines have gone to Latinos, OHA Director Patrick Allen said Friday.

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center will hold a listening session about the COVID vaccine on Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 6 - 7 p.m. The link is on the clinic’s website.

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