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Lane and Coos counties moving down to lower risk

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Lane County has just passed a major milestone: 65% of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

This means big changes are headed our way, and it's all happening on Wednesday.


Now that the county has hit the target, they are eligible to enter lower risk, with no chance of moving back up.

Gov. Kate Brown announced the new risk level changes on Tuesday, which include Coos County also moving down to lower risk on Wednesday due to lower case counts.

The changes are being fast-tracked, as they usually don't take effect until the Friday after the announcement. This means large, outdoor events, like the upcoming NCAA track and field championship, will be able to increase capacity from 25% to 50%.

Health officials said they already submitted the required vaccine equity plans to the Oregon Health Authority.

Chair of the Lane County Board of County Commissioners Joe Berney shared his thoughts on Tuesday after the announcement came down.

“As a community, we have moved mountains to be where we are today,” Berney said. “There have been naysayers. We have focused relentlessly on achieving where we are and beyond.”

He said this is a major step at resuming normal life, but the work is not done yet.

“We’re at over 66% now,” Berney said. “If we can get to 70% of vaccinations, you have done a patriotic duty because then the state of Oregon opens and we’re done with this thing.”

KEZI also spoke to Dr. Bob Pelz, the Director of Infection Prevention at PeaceHealth Oregon.

“It’s a miracle that we have vaccines that are this effective and safe this fast,” Pelz said. “Throughout the world, populations that have high vaccination rates have seen a dramatic decline in their COVID rates. It's not an accident that our COVID numbers are going down. It’s because of the vaccine.”

He said that a lot of people misconstrue ‘community immunity’ as eradication, so the fight to encourage vaccinations continues on.

Since December 384,000 doses have been given out in Lane County.

For a full list of counties' risk levels, CLICK HERE.

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