State’s update to risk level metrics saves Josephine & Klamath Counties from ‘Extreme’

SALEM, Ore. —Just Monday we told viewers that Josephine and Klamath Counties were headed for the “extreme risk” category. Now, after the state announced a last-minute change, they’re being given a second chance.

An update to how Oregon determines county risk levels means good news for Josephine and Klamath Counties. The two counties were headed to the extreme tier, meaning restaurants cannot allow indoor dining, and there are tighter restrictions on capacity at certain businesses.

“It has been a real up and down scenario for me and for us and fortunately we’re ending on a real high note here,” said business owner, Dave Thomason.

Thomason runs dozens of local restaurants in the Rogue Valley, like Elmers, Human Bean, Tap Rock Grill, and more. Tuesday morning he was preparing to close indoor dining at his restaurants if the county moved to extreme, now that’s not the case.

“I am thrilled to be shocked and learn today that the governor has agreed to look at new metrics,” said Thomason.

Governor Brown released the changes Tuesday afternoon. The metrics used to determine county risk levels will now include statewide covid hospitalizations.

If there are 300 covid hospitalizations and a 15% increase over a 7 day period, then counties whose data places them in extreme will go to that category.

If the state’s hospital numbers aren’t that bad, counties that qualify for extreme will stay at high.

Josephine County Commissioner Dan DeYoung says it’s a big win for counties. “I’m sure there are a lot of happy people in Josephine County, all three of our counties are going to get benefit from this so I think it’s a huge win,” said Commissioner DeYoung.

Josephine, Klamath, and Tillamook counties all would have gone to extreme this Friday, without the last-minute change.


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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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