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Living with COVID-19

Living with COVID-19

Together we have the ability to prevent COVID-19 from further spreading in our communities.

Oregon has a framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19 until vaccines can be widely distributed.

While the rollout of vaccines in Oregon is promising, it will take time to reach the level of community immunity we need to fully return to normal life. Until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to protect ourselves and others is to continue practicing health and safety measures. 

All Oregonians have a part to play by continuing to:

Wear a mask

Limit gatherings to small groups

Keep at least six feet away from others outside your household

Wash your hands

Stay home when sick

Get a flu shot

Find the Status of Activities in Your County

Note: All activities are subject to more detailed, sector-specific guidance. All activities assume mask usage, at least 6 feet of physical distancing, provision for hand hygiene, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation & sports, youth programs, childcare, K12 schools (including sports), higher education, and current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions operate under sector-specific guidance for all risk levels.

Current Risk Level by County

County Risk Levels are updated every two weeks in response to how COVID-19 is spreading in our communities.

On Tuesday of Week One (called the Warning Week), data for the previous two weeks is published so counties can prepare for potential risk level changes the following week.
On Tuesday of Week Two (called the Movement Week), updated data is published and County Risk Levels are assigned. Risk Levels take effect on Friday and remain in effect for the next two weeks while this process repeats. 

Understand Your County's Risk Level

As we live with COVID-19 through the coming months, risk reduction measures are important to limit the spread of disease, reduce risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and to help conserve hospital beds and staff capacity so that all Oregonians continue to have access to quality care.

Disease spread and percent positivity determine the risk level for activities allowed. Some of this data includes case rates for larger population counties or absolute cases for smaller population counties. Other metrics serve as additional data for context. Counties must remain in a risk level for at least two weeks before moving to a less restrictive phase, and must propose community mitigation measures to minimize risk based on disease spread. The Oregon Healthy Authority and the Governor’s Office use this data to assign risk level, but counties may choose to remain in a more restrictive risk level for the safety of their community.

Table explaining basic factors that inform risk level.
Spread (plus other factors)
EqualsRisk level assigned
Minimal Spread= Lower Risk
Moderate Spread= Moderate Risk
Substantial Spread= High Risk
Widespread= Extreme Risk

Understand how data is used to make decisions

We rely on science and data to inform guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in our communities. And, as we learn more about the virus itself, we are changing the way we use data to inform the guidance we issue to reduce risk of transmission in the community.

We know that living with COVID-19 and the measures we are taking to control its spread have been difficult – impacting our mental health, daily rituals, and the economy. Some communities in our state – communities of color, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly – have been especially impacted by COVID-19. But by working together, we can reduce the spread of this disease, allow more students and staff to return to school with lower risk, and start to revitalize the economy. Below is the framework guiding our approach to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19.

Indicators of COVID-19 Spread

We use indicators of disease spread to determine which restrictive measures will reduce risk from COVID-19. The principles for reducing risk inform sector-specific guidance to protect Oregonians — including workers, customers, and others — in these sectors

Table explaining spread indicators that inform risk level.
Applies to Minimal Spread Moderate Spread Substantial Spread Widespread
Rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over 14 days Counties with
30,000+ people
50.0 to <100.0100.0 to <200.0≥200.0
Number of COVID-19 cases over 14 daysCounties with
<30,000 people
30 to <4545 to 59≥60
Percentage test positivity over previous 14 days
Counties with
>15,000 people
<5.0%5.0% to <8.0%8.0% to <10.0%≥10.0%

Common questions & answers


Activities and businesses that have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to open sooner. Higher-risk activities or businesses will not re-open until risk of spreading the virus is lower. OHA determines the risk of an activity or business using the following criteria:
  • Can individuals wear a mask at all times?
  • Is there space to keep physical distance between households?
  • Are there ways to limit time of exposure to other households?
  • Does the space allow for increased airflow (such as operating outdoors or opening windows and doors)? 
  • Will these activities increase virus spread (such as singing, shouting, and heavy breathing)?

There are five regional response hospitals in the state that are coordinating with other hospitals throughout Oregon to monitor staffed bed capacity and work together to ensure patients can access high quality care for COVID-19 and other conditions. Each region has developed a framework to guide actions to temporarily expand capacity and to move patients to the most appropriate location for care.​​​ The Oregon Health Authority regularly tracks data​ on hospital capacity. 

  • Wear a mask in public.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Keep at least six feet of physical distance when in public.
  • Limit mixing with people you don't live with.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Follow OHA guidance on your county's risk level.​

The new Risk and Safety Framework removed the need for the County Watch List. Why change? We learned a lot over the first several months of the pandemic about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Our focus is to get more Oregon kids back in the classroom without overwhelming our hospitals. These new metrics will help us accomplish those two goals without completely shutting down our economy.

The Watch List served to provide support to counties needing assistance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, reduce case counts, and prioritize testing in congregate living facilities. Counties needing additional support from OHA should make requests through the Ops Center. OHA has been fulfilling requests for assistance with case investigations, contact tracing, data entry, and communications.​​