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County COVID-19 risk assessments updated every two weeks

How do the current Jackson County COVID-19 levels relate to its risk assessment level? Everyone wants to know soon we move to an improved status.

— John, via email

John, we’ve had to be patient while waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted, and our next chance to progress from “extreme” status is Feb. 25.

Jackson County one of 14 counties in Oregon who share the “extreme” distinction. Our neighbors to the west in Josephine County are in that category, too. Gov. Kate Brown last announced Feb. 9 that we’d stay put for another two weeks.

A county that has 30,000 or more residents is considered to have “extreme” risk if the rate of new cases over the prior two weeks is more than 200 per 100,000 people, or if there are more than 60 new cases in a county with fewer than 30,000 people, according to OHA data. For the most recent testing period that ended Feb. 6, Jackson County had a rate of 260 per 100,000 people.

Counties with more than 15,000 people also have to have a test percentage positivity greater than or equal to 10% over the previous 14 days.

To your question, Jackson County can move one category down to “high” if the rate of new COVID-19 cases is between 100 and 200 per 100,000 people over 14 days, and if our positive test percentage is between 8% to just under 10%. A “moderate” risk distinction is 50 to just under 100 per 100,000 people and a positive test percentage of 5% to just under 8%. Finally, “lower” risk would happen for us if our case rate got down to less than 50 per 100,000 people and our positive test percentage was under 5%.

All of this data and more can be viewed online at https://coronavirus.oregon.gov/Pages/living-with-covid-19.aspx.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.