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Benton, Lincoln, Deschutes Counties Enter ‘Lower Risk’ Friday

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Benton, Deschutes, and Lincoln Counties are among five Oregon counties that will enter the state’s “Lower Risk” category for COVID-19 starting Friday.


The change means higher capacities for businesses like restaurants and gyms. But it’s also another sign of progress on the road back to normalcy. The counties achieved the status by crossing the 65 percent threshold for the rate of people age 16 and older getting vaccinated against COVID-19.


Kelly Locey with the Benton County Health Department said the county reached its goal in large part due to its series of mass vaccination clinics at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

“We’ve also been doing lots of smaller clinics," she said, including "clinics in rural areas, going to agriculture sites, working with community partners to vaccinate people in their homes.”

Locey said the mass clinics at Reser Stadium will continue for the time being, though not indefinitely.

As of Thursday, Benton County’s vaccination rate was the highest in the state. Lincoln County’s rate was the fifth highest, and Deschutes was sixth highest.


The other counties moving into the "lower risk" level are Washington and Hood River Counties.


Lane, Douglas and Linn Counties remain in the "high risk" level.


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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