County activates Emergency Operations Center for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, keeps lobbies closed

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Benton County is activating an Emergency Operations Center for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in order to ensure swift and equitable distribution as vaccination availability increases in Oregon.

In addition to the Emergency Operations Center, the County has activated its Joint Information Center to provide the community with timely and accurate information about the status of vaccination efforts within Benton County. With the activation of both the Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center, the County is expanding the hours of the COVID-19 call center to 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone bank’s number is 541-766-6120.

County lobbies remain closed to the public

Benton County received its latest risk designation level from Oregon Health Authority on Monday, and remains in the “Extreme Risk” category. With this designation, County leadership has determined that the County’s public lobbies will remain closed beyond their previously anticipated reopening date of January 19, 2021.

The Benton County Board of Commissioners directed staff that County facilities will not reopen to the public until the County has remained in the “High Risk” category for two consecutive two-week periods. This will allow the County to reduce the “yo-yo” effect from opening and closing each time the County moves from “High” to “Extreme Risk,” as well as provide the highest degree of safety for the public and County staff.  The earliest possible date for reopening County lobbies to the public is March 1, 2021, depending on which risk protection category the County falls in at that time.

Information about the risk framework, and Benton County’s current status, is available at co.benton.or.us/covid19.

Although there is limited public access to County buildings, the following County business operations will continue to serve the public as listed at bit.ly/BentonCoGov-PublicLobbiesClosedThroughJan1.