ONTARIO — Oregonians are closing in on the goal of a 70% vaccination rate for the state, Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday during her latest COVID-19 news conference. 

Case rates and hospitalizations are steadily declining she said. With more than 67% of Oregonians statewide having received one dose of a vaccine, that leaves about 93,000 people to be vaccinated to reach the goal, Brown said. There has been a 60% decrease in the number of deaths, she said. “We have more work to do.” Brown said.

Once the goals is reached, she has said in the past that most COVID restrictions can be lifted and the infection risk levels assigned to each county will be gone.   

“Thank you for everyone who is getting vaccinated,” Brown said.

The governor reminded everyone they still have a chance to win $1 million if they have been vaccinated or get vaccinated in the Take Your Shot Oregon lottery. A drawing will take place on June 28 and there will be one $1 million winner, five $100,000 Oregon College Saving Plan education scholarship winners and 36 $10,000 winners, one from each county.

Many citizens from Malheur County were vaccinated in Idaho so their records are not in the state database. The same is true for individuals, including veterans, who were vaccinated at federal health-care centers. In order to help make those citizens eligible for the lottery, the Oregon Health Authority has opened up a registration form for them, too. In order to be eligible, an Oregonian must have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in another state, another country, at federal locations such as VA Medical Centers, or by federal health-care providers at locations outside a federal location. Employees and family members of the Oregon Lottery, the Governor’s Office, the Treasurer’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority will be ineligible.

To protect homeowners who have been hurt financially, by the pandemic, Brown said she is extending mortgage protection, authorized by the Legislature to homeowners who are behind in their payments because of being laid off. Brown said she is working with the Oregon Legislature to obtain similar protection for renters who are in danger of being evicted for being behind on their rent.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist, said during the news conference, that people who have been vaccinated are protected from the pandemic, but those who have not are still in danger as the virus is swirling around them. 

Leslie Thompson contributed to this article.

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