After less than a week of being put into a ‘moderate risk’ level related to the spread of COVID-19, Malheur County is in danger of sliding backwards due to case rates. The risk levels are reestablished every two weeks with a built-in warning week that change could be on the way.

Such a change would mean no limited fans at home games for some schools, including Vale and Nyssa, which have allowed it, and if the county slides back into the former ‘extreme risk’ category, it will be a season-ender for volleyball, which just barely got the green light for a season last week.

Other changes would include scaling back occupancy once again at restaurants, bars, shopping centers, entertainment venues, gyms and other indoor and outdoor services and activities, according to a news release from Malheur County Health Department on March 3.

Officials at the health department have yet to see the updated report from Gov. Kate Brown’s office, however, after seeing numbers posted by the Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday, they “felt it important to let the community know the potential for a risk level change.”

From Feb. 14-27, Malheur County’s case rate was 159.2 and test positivity rate was 4.5%. While the positivity rate in the low-risk range, the case rate falls into the high risk category. Currently, the numbers do include cases among inmates at Snake River Correctional Institution; however, those numbers are removed for the final weekly report when determining the risk level, according to the news release.

The next risk level change for Malheur County will take place on March 12 with data collected from Feb. 21 thru March 6.

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