Despite recording some of its lowest virus case counts in weeks, Curry County reported an additional COVID-19 death this week.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, an 83-year-old man who tested positive for the virus May 4 died May 10 at Bay Area Hospital. The presence of underlying conditions was still being confirmed by state officials as of the report last week.
The individual is the 10th in the state to die with the virus, according to OHA.
But in more positive news, Curry County is reporting low case rates.
The county reported just 12 cases of the virus between May 2 and 15, the lowest rate of cases in months.
That figure, coupled with a 4.2% test positivity rate during the same timeframe would have kicked the county into the low-risk tier of restrictions — but OHA officials announced changes in risk levels this week would only be based on vaccination rates, not case rates.
The move means that, if Curry County’s case rates hold for another week, it could enter the low-risk category, allowing some restrictions on business capacity to ease.
But the county has another option for moving to the low-risk category: Once 65% of the county’s over-16 population has received a first dose of a vaccine, the rules stop changing, and the county stays in the low-risk category under a plan announced by Gov. Kate Brown last week.
On Tuesday, Brown announced five counties would be moving to the low-risk category of restrictions based on their vaccination rates, including Benton, Deschutes, Hood River, Lincoln and Washington.
As of Tuesday, Curry County needed just under 3,500 more people to get their first COVID-19 shot before it met that threshold. Just under half of the county’s adult population has received a dose of the vaccine, the 18th highest of the state’s 36 counties.
Statewide, around 62% of the eligible population has received a dose of the vaccine. A 70% rate at the state level will largely do away with many of the restrictions that have hampered businesses and other activities for months.
Curry Health Network is continuing to offer vaccines weekly. More information and registration is available online at www.curryhealthnetwork.com/education.