Umatilla County will move to moderate risk level for COVID-19 on Friday, April 9, according to an announcement from Gov. Kate Brown.

The change from high to moderate loosens some restrictions on businesses and gatherings. Restaurants, for example, can now offer indoor dining at 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller, instead of 25% capacity or 50 people. Indoor entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, as well as recreational facilities, such as gyms, can also move to 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. Retail stores can operate at 75% capacity instead of 50%.

Morrow County remains at low risk for at least another two weeks.

The change for Umatilla County to move to a lower risk category comes as most counties in Oregon are seeing their COVID-19 cases begin to trend upward instead. This week six counties moved from moderate to high risk, and five more counties were put in the “warning period,” giving them two weeks to get their numbers back down again before they are switched to a higher level.

While risk levels had previously been based on case counts and test positivity rates, Brown said Oregon Health Authority will also begin including hospitalization numbers in the count to present a more accurate picture of risk to the community as vaccinations protect more people from severe cases of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, April 6, Umatilla County announced its 83rd death of a person with COVID-19. The county reported the patient was a 47-year-old male with underlying conditions who tested positive Feb. 2 and died April 3 at a hospital in Portland.

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