Weekend Coronavirus Update – Gov. Brown Readying Plan for Stay-At-Home Order; Though No Order Yet

The latest in Oregon and around the nation regarding the Coronavirus (Covid 19) and stories of interest.

Sunday, March 22, 2020 8AM

World Statistics
The death toll from the global coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 12,994 people worldwide and sickened more than 300,000.

United States Statistics
Confirmed Cases.  27,137
Deaths in the U.S. 349

More than 195,000 Americans have now been tested.

In front of the media on Friday evening, Oregon Governor Kate Brown indicated plans to implement a ‘Stay at Home’ order starting sometime soon, although she has not make that order yet.

While no official order was made Friday night by Governor Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury were continuing working with her on details guided by a letter of ideas from over two dozen Oregon city mayors. It is unclear whether a new larger plan will cover all of the state or just higher affected areas.

Mayors from many Portland area cities are urging the Governor to make a much stronger stance against the virus as has been done in California, New Jersey, Illinois and New York.

Friday night Gov. Brown said “I’m directing Oregonians tonight to stay home, stay healthy. It’s both an order and public health directive,” stated the Governor.

While Governor Brown did not elaborate much on which businesses would be asked to close under an Oregon stay at home order, she did share praise for theaters and gyms which have already elected to close in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Brown reiterated her recommendation to all Oregonians to stay at home through the weekend, urging people to only go out for essential business such as picking up a prescriptions or groceries.

The Oregon Health Authority announced another person has died from COVID-19 on Saturday, raising the state’s death total to four.

A 72-year-old woman in Marion County, who tested positive on March 15 died on Friday at Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center, health officials said. She had underlaying medical conditions.

The Oregon Health Authority also reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state total to 137.

The breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Oregon is as follows:

  • Benton County: 2
  • Clackamas County: 11
  • Deschutes County: 9
  • Douglas County: 1
  • Grant County: 1
  • Jackson County: 2
  • Klamath County: 1
  • Lane County: 3
  • Linn County: 19
  • Marion County: 19
  • Multnomah County: 18
  • Polk County: 1
  • Umatilla County: 2
  • Union County: 1
  • Washington County: 42
  • Yamhill County: 4

We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to bring you updates as more information becomes available to us at RogueValleyMagazine.com.

Stimulus checks: Congress resumes talk on Stimulus Checks for Americans, proposing $1,200 per person, $2,400 for couples under US coronavirus relief plan

Negotiators from Congress and the White House were resuming top-level talks Saturday on a ballooning $1 trillion-plus economic rescue package, racing to strike a deal after President Donald Trump unleashed fury on those questioning his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

It was an extraordinary moment in Washington: Congress undertaking the most ambitious federal effort yet to shore up households and the U.S. economy and an angry president lashing out at all comers. All while the global pandemic and the nationwide shutdown grip an anxious, isolated population bracing for a healthcare crisis and looming recession.

When one reporter asked Trump what he would tell a worried nation Friday, the president snapped, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter.”

On Capitol Hill, key congressional and White House officials converged Saturday for more talks.  The sweeping aid package of paychecks for suddenly jobless Americans, money for hospitals and aid to industry is all but certain to swell far beyond the initial $1 trillion price tag.  Combined with other actions by the Federal Reserve, it could be a $2 trillion pump to the economy, officials said Saturday.

The Senate was convening the rare weekend session with the aim of drafting the package Saturday, holding an initial vote Sunday and winning Senate passage on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday negotiators are making “important progress,” but urged talks to wrap up.

“This is not a political opportunity, this is a national emergency,” he said. “It’s time to come together, finalize the results of our bipartisan discussions and close this out.”

McConnell said he wants to pass the aid package “as quickly as humanly possible.”

Trump has already signed into law a $100 billion-plus bill to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers hit by it. Earlier, Trump signed an initial $8.3 billion package from Congress.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The peak in the U.S. is still ahead of us.

National Institutes of Health infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci — a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force — told reporters Saturday from Washington D.C. that it is unclear when the virus will reach its peak and begin to subside in the U.S.

“I can’t predict what the situation would be,” Fauci said. “I think we need to be prepared to modify behavior, even when it involves things that are very close to our hearts.”

“That’s the reason why you have to be somewhat proportionate in what you do,” Fauci said.  “A few days ago, we put out a list of guidelines that people should follow, such as getting people who are elderly or with underlying conditions and essentially have them stay at home and not be outside physically. There were guidelines about avoiding crowds.”

The doctor also emphasized the importance of limiting visits to nursing homes.   “I know you want to see loved ones, but you shouldn’t have anything but absolutely necssary visits,” Fauci said.

The state of New York now has over 10,000 cases alone.  Another 10,000 New Yorkers were tested yesterday and results will be coming in soon.  New York has 35 deaths as of Saturday evening.

Governor Cuomo announced 100% of state’s workforce must close. Only essential businesses will remain open.  The executive order goes into effect Sunday night.

“This is most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo said.  He termed the policy, New York State on PAUSE–Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.

Negotiators from Congress and the White House have resumed top-level talks on a ballooning $1 trillion-plus economic rescue package. Officials put the price tag at nearly $1.4 trillion and said with other measures from the Federal Reserve it could pump $2 trillion into the U.S. economy.

President Donald Trump, during a briefing at the White House on Saturday, expressed optimism that it could be agreed upon soon. The Senate convened the rare weekend session with the aim of drafting the package Saturday, holding an initial vote Sunday and winning Senate passage on Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency authorization Saturday for a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) test kit made by Cepheid Inc. that can yield results in a matter of hours instead of days.

The new tool is called the “Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test” and will be made available to the public by the end of the month.

“The test we’re authorizing today will be able to provide Americans with results within hours, rather than days like the existing tests, and the company plans to roll it out by March 30,” the FDA said in a press release.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar added: “With new tools like point-of-care diagnostics, we are moving into a new phase of testing, where tests will be much more easily accessible to Americans who need them.”

Cepheid, which is based out of Sunnyvale, Calif., claim the test kit can bounce back positive or negative results, in as little as 45 minutes.

The doctor or clinician collects the patient’s biological sample with a swab. That sample is then mixed in a tube and transferred with an included pipette into the Cepheid cartridge, which contains testing reagents, according to the company.

The cartridge is closed and placed into what is called a “GeneXpert machine,” which determines if the patient has been infected or not.

There are more than 23,000 automated GeneXpert systems across the globe, and almost 5,000 of them are in the U.S., Cepheid said in a statement.

“Our automated systems do not require users to have specialty training to perform testing — they are capable of running 24/7, with many systems already doing so today,” Cepheid President Warren Kocmond explained.

Cepheid expects to begin shipping out the test later next week.

“By leveraging the design principles of our current Xpert Xpress Flu/RSV cartridge technology, in which multiple regions of the viral genome are targeted to provide rapid detection of current and potential future variants of SARS-CoV-2, we have developed a test that provides reference lab-quality results in multiple settings where actionable treatment information is needed quickly,” he added.

As of late Friday, there were nearly 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 246 confirmed deaths.

VP Pence and Wife tested. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, have both tested negative for COVID-19, his press secretary announced Saturday night.

“Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence” spokesperson Katie Miller tweeted.

Pence’s office said Friday that the unidentified staffer tested positive. Pence said that the staffer is doing well, and had cold-like symptoms for a day and a half and has not been to the White House since Monday.

He said that neither he nor President Trump had any contact with the staffer, and that they had worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House. Contact tracing had also been done, he said.


Know How it Spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

To disinfect:
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

  • Diluting your household bleach.
    To make a bleach solution, mix:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Alcohol solutions.
    Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday granted Abbott Laboratories approval to sell a test for the new coronavirus. Abbott said it plans to immediately distribute around 150,000 tests to customers in the United States and will continue to ramp up production to hit a goal of providing up to 1 million tests per week.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, households across the country are hunkering down and emptying out store shelves. Toilet paper has a become the ultimate symbol of the panic buying; it’s seemingly scooped up as soon as new rolls hit the shelves. Companies that help supply these everyday paper products are stunned and trying to adjust to this rapidly evolving new normal in consumer behavior. Many were already operating their manufacturing facilities 24/7 prior to the pandemic. It’s unclear, however, what they will do in the event workers get sick.

… Tom Sellars, of Sellars Absorbant Materials in Milwaukee, says, “If you ask me why everyone is grabbing toilet paper, I can’t really explain it. It’s not like we are suddenly using more of it.”

… Georgia Pacific, the maker of Angel Soft and Quilted Northern toilet paper, said that last week, some orders from retailers nearly doubled. The company managed to ship out 20% more than its normal capacity.

… Consumer products company Kimberly-Clark, whose retail toilet paper brands include Scott and Cottonelle, said it is taking steps to accelerate production and reallocating inventory to meet current demand.

Scientists have begun to produce a day-by-day breakdown of the typical coronavirus symptoms. The team of researchers studied 138 patients with the illness at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University.  They found that the average time from these first symptoms to signs of breathing difficulties was five days.

… 85 percent of COVID-19 patients will only experience the first seven days of symptoms, known as ‘phase one’. However, the remainder will go through phase two, which lasts a further two weeks.

• Day 1: Patients experience a fever and may also experience fatigue, muscle pain and a dry cough. A small minority may have had diarrhea or nausea one to two days before.

• Day 5: Patients have difficulty breathing — known as dyspnea — if they are older or have a pre-existing health condition.

• Day 7: At this point patients showing signs of dyspnea tend to be admitted to hospital. Day 7 is also the point at which for the vast majority of patients — about 85 percent — that symptoms start to diminish and coming out of isolation is a possibility.

• Day 8: Patients with severe cases develop signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) at this point, where the lungs can’t provide the body’s vital organs with enough oxygen.

• Day 10: Patients with worsening breathing problems tend to be entered into an intensive care unit at day 10.

• Day 12: Fever tends to end at around this point.

… The average duration of fever — an early sign of COVID-19 — was about 12 days, but a cough associated with the illness may stay around for longer. In survivors of the disease, dyspnoea would cease after about 13 days, while the average time to death was 18.5 days.

A rapid test for coronavirus which could give a result in just 30 minutes for people at home has been developed by Oxford University. The super sensitive test, which can picks up the virus in its very early stages when it might otherwise have been missed, could be rolled out to testing centers within two weeks and could soon be available for home use.

… Previous viral tests took 1½ to 2 hours to give a result slowing down the ability to respond quickly to the crisis.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials assured the American public Wednesday that the food supply will remain safe and uninterrupted during the coronavirus pandemic. An FDA spokesman said, “We … must continue to reassure and remind the American people that there is no need to hoard food, that they should only buy what they need for their families for a week or so.”

… The Federal Emergency Management Agency will work to ensure food still can be adequately moved across the country.

Soon the toilet paper manufacturers will catch up with demand and there will be pallets in the aisles at stores.  But what about food? Even if the COVID-19 pandemic stretches over months, there will be no big food shortages, especially on staples like milk, eggs, cheese, bread and meat, according to supply chain experts. But your favorite brand or the exact kind of fruit you want could be scarce.

… Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert and author of Supply Chain Management for Dummies, told CNBC: “The brand that you normally want may not be available. But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner.” Stanton added: “The U.S. produces a huge amount of food. We’re also an exporter of food, so we’re going to be okay.”

… Specialty items like imported pastas and wines from Italy, cheeses from France or other niche food products from countries overseas or smaller businesses may be impacted, says Anantha Iyer, senior associate dean in supply chain and operations management at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management.

… As for fruits and vegetables Americans may just have to be “a little flexible” on certain types they want to buy in the coming months. If you don’t see one type of fruit, you may have to buy another type of fruit.

Service industry employees unable to work are taking financial hits as people remain isolated and indoors in an effort to avoid infection. Coaches Bar and Grill in Columbus, Ohio is one of the many businesses to close its doors until further notice. In a gesture of support, a customer left a $2,500 tip on a bill for $29.75 a few hours before the restaurant was set to close Sunday night. The Coaches regular — who wishes to remain anonymous — requested the tip be distributed to the staff equally.

… At a popular Houston restaurant, a couple left the waitress a tip for the staff of $9,400. The couple are regular customers who wanted to help them get by during the coronavirus shutdown. The bill for their meal was $90.12. The husband left a note on the receipt that said “hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks.” The restaurant split the money among 30 employees, so they got about $300 each.

April 15 is not the most dreaded day of the year. That’s according to a survey of 1,000 people, which finds more people — 33 percent — dread visiting the dentist or doctor more than tax day. Only 15 percent said they hated April 15.

Babies love a beat, according to a study that found dancing comes naturally to infants. The research showed babies respond to the rhythm and tempo of music, and find it more engaging than speech. The findings suggest that humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music. The research suggests that it is the beat rather than other features of the music, such as the melody, that produces the response in infants.

Have you ever had the feeling that your loved one misses the dog more than you when he or she is away on a business trip? You may be right. A third of Americans admit to pining for their pooches more than their partners when out of town. But maybe that’s because nine out of ten of them feel their pet is more pleased to see them after a hard day at work and is even more likely to notice when they’ve had a bad day.

… Your partner’s relationship with your dog may be closer than you thought and it might be going on behind your back. Around one is seven dog owners say they have “shared a look” with their dogs at least once and even more than that claim to be able to read their pet’s facial expressions. And ever wondered what’s behind the long gaze into pooch’s big brown eyes? Your partner may be one of a third of dog owners who swear it’s an entire “conversation” without words.

… And it doesn’t stop there. Many Americans turn to their four-legged friends for solace before friends and family. Nearly two thirds believe their dogs are more dependable than their closest comrades and over 70 percent would rather go for a walk with pooch when feeling uptight than hang out with their best buddy.

Beware:  Now that disinfectant wipes are in high demand, officials are asking the public to keep one thing in mind as they take precautions against the new coronavirus: If you are using any type of wipe — whether or not it says ‘flushable’ — do not flush them down the toilet. Products that seem safe to flush, like personal care wipes, dental floss, and paper towels don’t easily dissolve and can clog household plumbing.

… Officials in stats across the U.S. have shared this easy-to-remember saying: “Wipes clog pipes.”

The staff at a popular Houston restaurant got a $9,400 tip from some regular customers who wanted to help them get by during the coronavirus shutdown. The couple came for an early dinner at Irma’s Southwest restaurant on Monday, after learning that all restaurants in the county would have to close their dining rooms and only offer takeout and delivery service.

… The couple — who wished to remain anonymous — left $1,900 in cash and put another $7,500 tip on a credit card. The tip was for the entire kitchen and service staff. The bill for their meal was $90.12.

… The husband left a note on the receipt that said “hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks.” The restaurant split the money among 30 employees, so they got about $300 each.

Forbes is tracking how some of the planet’s wealthiest are helping the global effort to combat the COVID-19 outbreak and do what they can for the economy. • LINK

… Some tech tycoons, like Bill Gates, are donating millions of dollars to aid vaccine and disease research. Many sports team owners, including Mark Cuban, are supporting arena staff while the season is on hiatus. Others, such as Tesla’s Elon Musk, appear far less concerned about the outbreak, or, like Richard Branson, are asking their employees to shoulder a chunk of the financial burden.

A thoughtful son found a way to lift his mother’s spirits after the assisted living facility she calls home went into lockdown because of COVID-19 — by serenading her and her friends on his guitar. In a tweet posted by Jenny DeLoach, the daughter of the man and the granddaughter of the woman, she recounts how she found her father cheering up her grandmother and her friends by playing music for them outside of their windows.

… Jenny tweeted: “My grandma’s living facility is on lockdown; I went to drop off some things for her & found my dad serenading her & her friends on his guitar since he couldn’t come in to visit.” • IMAGE

COVID-19: SHOULD YOU STOP WEARING YOUR WEDDING RING? _ You probably know the basics of proper hand-washing by now: At least 20 seconds, and scrub those fingertips, not just your palms. But what about your wedding ring or wristwatch? Should you take those off while you wash your hands? Can they carry the new coronavirus?

… Public health officials have advised that properly washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others. However, what to do about rings and other jewelry is often not addressed in these guides. Rochelle Walensky, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told USA Today: “In a situation where we are in extraordinary measures to limit COVID-19 transmission, I think removal of rings/jewelry when washing hands — or perhaps limiting their wear altogether right now — represents a wise move forward.

As cities and states across the US mandate that restaurants cut the capacity of their dining rooms — or close them all together — restaurateurs will have to rely heavily on delivery in the weeks ahead. Many eateries are already having a difficult time dealing with reduced revenue due to people staying home out of coronavirus concerns and DoorDash is aiming to help independent restaurants stay afloat by removing or reducing commission fees through the end of April. As of today, restaurants new to DoorDash can sign up and pay zero commission fees for 30 days. Eligible restaurants already onboard will pay reduced fees on delivery orders and won’t be charged for pickup orders, but it’s unclear as to how long this will be the case.

As you may have heard, Tom Brady, 42, didn’t take long to determine his landing spot in the NFL. The former New England Patriots quarterback agreed in principle to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The deal is believed to be worth roughly $30 million per year, according to NFL Network.

The 146th running of The Kentucky Derby will be postponed until the first Saturday in September. It is the first time the Derby will not be held on the first Saturday in May since 1945, when it was postponed until June. The Derby will be postponed until Saturday, September 5.

The NFL draft is a go for late April in Las Vegas. NFL Commission Roger Goodell said Monday that the public events surrounding the draft have been canceled.

To keep up with a “significant increase in demand” due to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon is hiring an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US. As more people turn to online shopping in an attempt to stay home (and because grocery stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked), Amazon says its labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year. The company will increase pay for U.S. workers by $2 per hour through the end of April. Amazon will also boost pay for those in the UK and EU. The company says the pay bump represents an investment of over $350 million across the US, Europe and Canada.

… Amazon is looking to fill both full- and part-time positions, and it says it’s happy to take anyone who has lost their job in the hospitality, food service and travel industries as a part of this crisis.

During this stressful and uncertain time, a woman in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, decided to help her community. She decided to turn a free library into a free pantry for children and families to come and get food during the time that school is closed because of the coronavirus. On Friday, Pennsylvania’s governor announced the closure of all schools for two weeks. For some children, this means they may not get three meals a day.

… Samantha Prosser saw a Little Free Pantry on social media and created her own version.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the restaurant industry, Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees for over 100,000 independent restaurants across the US and Canada. It’s the latest move by gig-economy businesses like Uber, Lyft and Grubhub to help alleviate some of the financial challenges that the coronavirus outbreak presents.

… Both Grubhub and Seamless have temporarily suspended commission fees for independent restaurants, as well.

U.S. internet and wireless providers have announced temporary measures to make getting online less expensive during the COVID-19 outbreak. Most notable is Comcast’s free public Wi-Fi for all for 60 days, effective immediately. Home-based Xfinity hotspots are not included, but Wi-Fi access points in public locations and at small businesses are.

… AT&T and Charter Communications also announced free public Wi-Fi for 60 days, with Charter offering free broadband for households with students through college age who don’t already have a subscription. Verizon was among the many providers to also announce a moratorium on late fees and disconnections.

… T-Mobile announced that it would provide unlimited smartphone data to all current subscribers and increase the data allowance to schools and students using their digital learning programs.

… Cox said it would increase speeds on low-cost broadband plans and Sprint said it would give subscribers unlimited data for 60 days, among other changes. Comcast and AT&T also temporarily lifted data caps.

SLOW THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS. Maintain your distance from others. Stay at home if you can. Protect your family.

Back to the RogueValleyMagazine.com Homepage

Must Read

Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 10/13 – $17M Sale of Two Senior Housing Properties in Medford and Grants Pass, Oregon Kicker Details Confirmed

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Friday 2/5 – Ashland Receives Project Turnkey Grant for Housing Project, Heather Cox Richardson Joins Oregon Historical Society’s “Historians and The News”

Renee Shaw

Oregon News, Wednesday, Aug. 14 – East Evans Fire Update

Brian Casey