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Local universities combat community COVID-19 spread

“We're very sensitive of the fact that our counties, our cities, our community members, and our businesses want to see Benton County or other counties go into lower risk categories,” said Steven Clark, OSU Vice President of University Relations and Marketing.

Posted: Feb 12, 2021 6:32 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- After receiving backlash from community members regarding a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, University of Oregon and Oregon State University officials are speaking out.

“We're very sensitive of the fact that our counties, our cities, our community members, and our businesses want to see Benton County or other counties go into lower risk categories,” said Steven Clark, OSU Vice President of University Relations and Marketing.

During the week of Feb. 10, OSU reported 119 new COVID-19 cases. In the previous week, the univeristy reported 59 cases.

The U of O reported 240 new COVID-19 cases among community members over a two-week period from Jan. 28 to Feb. 10. 

Students living in the residence halls at both universities are tested on a weekly basis.

Both the U of O and OSU have maintained positivity case rates at or below two percent.

From Jan. 24 to Feb. 6, Lane County’s positivity case rate was 4.3 percent and Benton County’s positivity case rate was 3.5 percent during the same time period.

KEZI spoke to one Lane County business owner who is looking forward to the county moving from extreme risk to high risk.

“We could serve customers inside and also it would allow us to maybe do some dinner specials inside,” said Michelle Reid, owner of Jazzy Ladies Cafe. “We just can't do dinner right now because of the cold weather outside, so we're looking forward to sunshine and we're also looking forward to going into a different risk category.”

Both Benton County and Lane County will remain in the extreme risk category until at least Feb. 26 when Governor Brown updates the county risk levels again.

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