Rogue Valley News, Wednesday, 4/1 – Jackson Co. 21 Cases, Josephine 10 Cases, Oregon with 690 Covid-19 Cases

The latest news stories in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from RogueValleyMagazine.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Today
A 40% chance of showers during the day, with a high of 53. Snow level 1500 feet rising to 2300 feet. Overnight low of 33.

Thursday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. Calm wind.

Friday
Partly sunny, with a high near 56.

Saturday
Showers likely with a high near 56.

Today’s Headlines

Wednesday, April 1st data

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from 16 to 18, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday.

Oregon Health Authority also reported 84 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 690.

Jackson County now has 21 cases.  Josephine with 10 known cases as of this morning.

The COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday are in the following counties:

Benton (3), Clackamas (10), Douglas (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (1), Klamath (1), Lane (4), Lincoln (1), Linn (1), Malheur (1), Marion (18), Multnomah (16), Polk (3), Umatilla (1), Wallowa (1), Wasco (2), Washington (18), and Yamhill (2).

Oregon’s 17th COVID-19 death is a 90-year-old man in Yamhill County, who tested positive on March 25 and died on March 29 at Providence Newberg Medical Center. He had underlying medical conditions.

Oregon’s 18th COVID-19 death is an 88-year-old woman in Benton County, who tested positive on March 26 and died March 30 at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. She had underlying medical conditions.

Prevention

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. However, everyday actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These actions include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home, stay safe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue in the trash can.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

People who think they might have been exposed to COVID-19 should call their local healthcare provider or local hospital immediately.

If you have shopped recently at Costco in Central Point be aware the management of Costco Wholesale in Central Point notified staff and local Jackson County health officials after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the information that Costco circulated to employees, the store management was informed that an employee in the store’s Front End department had tested positive. That employee’s last day at work was Monday, March 23rd.

Costco contacted Jackson County Public Health and was cooperating with any directions they had, was adding additional cleaning and sanitation protocols, and would be contacting any other employees who had been in close contact with the individual.

The Medford Police Department says it’s received several complaints about a public feeding for the homeless.

It took place in Hawthorne Park over the weekend.

The agency says any kind of group gathering is against the law, according to Governor Kate Brown’s current ‘shelter in place’ order.   A violation of this order could result in a class C misdemeanor criminal charge.

“It really places this vulnerable population at a high risk and it places our first responders, who, if these people were sick would have to respond to help them,” said Chief Scott Clauson, Medford Police Dept.

Last week, Chief Clauson says the agency partnered with local non-profits and the county to give lunches to the homeless 7-days a week.

That’s to ensure they’re not gathering in groups where the virus could easily spread.

Oregon’s Covid-19 outbreak and stay-at-home order from Governor Brown bans public gatherings of any size and we remind residents to keep your social distancing.

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety has been monitoring the guidelines and safety precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic closely. 

In order to provide for the safety of employees and citizens alike, the lobby of the new police headquarters was previously placed on a reduced-hours schedule.  To increase safety and to encourage social distancing, the lobby of the police headquarters is now closed. 

Records personnel will continue to register sex offenders by phone at 541-450-6260. No applications for vehicle for hire, or OLCC will be processed at this time.  You can still send in documentation to records@grantspassoregon.gov.  

As always, you can still call the non-emergent line 541-450-6260 for regular business, and 911 for emergencies.  We appreciate your patience and support during this time. 

Curt Julian Gobar

On Monday the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) Major Crimes Detectives, assisted by GPDPS Patrol, served a Search Warrant on the residence of Curt Julian Gobar, DOB: 10-15-64, at his residence located at 355 Woody Acres, Williams, Josephine County, OR. Assisting agencies were the Oregon State Police and the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) Team.

A handgun stolen in a burglary in Grants Pass in January of 2019, where 21 handguns were stolen, was recovered. To date the GPDPS has recovered 13 of them/GPDPS 19-2102.

Additionally, the following items were seized:

  • 34 grams of Methamphetamine                         
  • 18.6 grams of Heroin
  • 8.4 grams of “Crack Cocaine”
  • 2.9 grams of powder Cocaine
  • a small amount of LSD
  • 27 pounds of Marijuana
  • $2,600 in US Currency
  • a shotgun

Gobar was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the following charges:

  1. Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  2. Theft I by Receiving
  3. Unlawful Distribution of Methamphetamine
  4. Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine
  5. Unlawful Distribution of Cocaine
  6. Unlawful Manufacture of Cocaine
  7. Unlawful Possession of Cocaine
  8. Unlawful Distribution of Heroin
  9. Unlawful Possession of Heroin
  10. Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
  11. Unlawful Possession of LSD

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call the GPDPS at (541) 450-6260.

The Oregon Health Authority has received flexibility from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove barriers for Oregonians to qualify for, enroll in, and stay enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan.

Oregon has also received flexibility for providers to provide care to members as the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly one in four Oregonians currently receives health coverage through OHP. Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority said this added flexibility in our Medicaid program is going to allow us to more quickly get people access to health care and expand our health system to meet the challenges of this public health emergency.

The key areas of flexibility that Oregon will gain from this waiver include: All members who are currently enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan will not lose coverage during this crisis. This includes coverage that is only state-funded Individuals can sign up for OHP without having to verify their income with their application. They will be able to self-attest, which will help Oregonians get access to OHP coverage more quickly.

Federal stimulus payments and increased unemployment payments will not affect OHP eligibility. They will not be counted during the application process or when members report a change in their household. And, Oregon will have additional flexibility to add to its healthcare workforce, provide treatment in temporary sites, and for paying providers during this public health emergency.

The State of Oregon expects a shipment of personal protective equipment today from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Once received, the personnel at the fully operational PPE Distribution Center in Wilsonville will begin processing and shipping those supplies to all 36 counties and 9 tribes in Oregon.

Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said having an adequate supply of PPE—masks, gowns, and gloves––is essential for the safety of first responders and health care workers. They are currently in a global shortage, but Oregon is working to replenish supplies of PPE through public and private partnerships, distribute those supplies to all 36 counties in Oregon, and ensure health care workers and first responders are protected.”

OEM’s Emergency Coordination Center, which is managing Oregon’s response, plans to ship PPE to each county and Oregon’s 9 tribes, for allocation. Counties are expected to receive shipments by or before April 6th.

If you have shopped recently at Costco in Central Point be aware the management of Costco Wholesale in Central Point notified staff and local Jackson County health officials after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the information that Costco circulated to employees, the store management was informed that an employee in the store’s Front End department had tested positive. That employee’s last day at work was Monday, March 23rd.

Costco contacted Jackson County Public Health and was cooperating with any directions they had, was adding additional cleaning and sanitation protocols, and would be contacting any other employees who had been in close contact with the individual.

Oregonians who have difficulty finding work during the COVID-19 pandemic do not have to worry about losing their food benefits, due to changes included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Normally, benefits are only available for three months for people who are not working but are considered able to work. The act temporarily suspends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) time limits for a subset of the SNAP population who are required to seek work as a condition of receiving benefits. The changes begin April 1, 2020 and ends the month after the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted.

“SNAP benefits play a critical role in helping Oregonians get by during difficult circumstances,” said Dan Haun, director of Self-Sufficiency Programs at the Oregon Department of Human Services. “This change ensures that food benefits remain available for the increasingly number of Oregonians losing jobs during this pandemic.”

“As business and schools close because of this public health crisis, Oregonians are losing work and wages. SNAP is there to help put food on the table,” said Annie Kirschner, executive director of Hunger-Free Oregon. “By waiving SNAP time limits, more Oregonians can now focus on staying healthy, instead of the threat of hunger.”

DHS announced last week that Oregonians statewide now can use their SNAP benefits online to buy groceries at Amazon or Wal-Mart, which support the physical distancing required by Governor Brown’s Stay Home Save Lives Executive Order. In addition, DHS is not requiring interviews for those who report having no household income. Oregonians can apply for SNAP without visiting a DHS office. You can apply online at OHP.Oregon.gov.

“Whether you’re experiencing job loss for the first time, or you’ve been struggling to make ends meet for a while, we want you to know about all the options open to you,” said Susannah Morgan, Oregon Food Bank CEO. “SNAP food assistance is our region’s most effective defense against hunger — especially in times of crisis. It’s an important resource that can feed families and help prevent hunger from becoming yet another symptom of COV-19.”  

What is SNAP?
SNAP is a federally funded program that offers nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. In Oregon, individuals and families apply for SNAP benefits at Department of Human Services (DHS) and Area Agency on Aging (AAA) offices across the state.

Who is an Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependent (ABAWD)?
An ABAWD is an individual:

  • Age 18 but not yet 50; and
  • Does not have children under age 18 in their SNAP filing group.

What are SNAP time limits?
An ABAWD is limited to three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period, unless the individual:

  • Is participating in work activities
  • Meets an allowable exemption, or
  • Lives in a waived area.

What does the suspension mean for SNAP customers?
While time limits are suspended, SNAP benefits will not be reduced or closed due to not meeting time limit work requirements.

From the FBI in Oregon

School Closings present potential for increased risk of Child Exploitation

Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, children will potentially have an increased online presence and/or be in a position that puts them at an inadvertent risk. Due to this newly developing environment, the FBI is seeking to warn parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.

Background

Online sexual exploitation comes in many forms. Individuals may coerce victims into providing sexually explicit images or videos of themselves, often in compliance with offenders’ threats to post the images publicly or send the images to victims’ friends and family.

Other offenders may make casual contact with children online, gain their trust, and introduce sexual conversation that increases in egregiousness over time. Ultimately this activity may result in maintaining an online relationship that includes sexual conversation and the exchange of illicit images, to eventually physically meeting the child in-person.

In order for the victimization to stop, children typically have to come forward to someone they trust—typically a parent, teacher, caregiver, or law enforcement. The embarrassment of being enticed and/or coerced to engage in unwanted behavior is what often prevents children from coming forward. Offenders may have hundreds of victims around the world, so coming forward to help law enforcement identify offenders may prevent countless other incidents of sexual exploitation.

Abuse can occur offline through direct contact with another individual. During these uncertain conditions, where time with other adults and caregivers has increased immensely, parents/guardians should communicate with their children about appropriate contact with adults and watch for any changes in behavior, including an increase in nightmares, withdrawn behavior, angry outbursts, anxiety, depression, not wanting to be left alone with an individual, and sexual knowledge.

Recommendations

Parents and guardians can take the following measures to help educate and prevent children from becoming victims of child predators and sexual exploitation during this time of national emergency:

Online Child Exploitation

  • Discuss Internet safety with children of all ages when they engage in online activity.
  • Review and approve games and apps before they are downloaded.
  • Make sure privacy settings are set to the strictest level possible for online gaming systems and electronic devices.
  • Monitor your children’s use of the Internet; keep electronic devices in an open, common room of the house.
  • Check your children’s profiles and what they post online.
  • Explain to your children that images posted online will be permanently on the Internet.
  • Make sure children know that anyone who asks a child to engage in sexually explicit activity online should be reported to a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult and law enforcement.
  • Remember that victims should not be afraid to tell law enforcement if they are being sexually exploited. It is not a crime for a child to send sexually explicit images to someone if they are compelled or coerced to do so.

Child Abuse Awareness

  • Teach your children about body safety and boundaries.
  • Encourage your children to have open communication with you.
  • Be mindful of who is watching your child for childcare/babysitting, playdates and overnight visits.
  • If your child discloses abuse, immediately contact local law enforcement for assistance.
  • Children experiencing hands-on abuse may exhibit withdrawn behavior, angry outbursts, anxiety, depression, not wanting to be left alone with a specific individual, non-age appropriate sexual knowledge, and an increase in nightmares.

Victim Reporting

Reporting suspected sexual exploitation can help minimize or stop further victimization, as well as lead to the identification and rescue of other possible victims. If you believe you are—or someone you know is—the victim of child sexual exploitation:

When reporting, be as descriptive as possible in the complaint form by providing as much of the following as possible:

  • Name and/or user name of the subject.
  • Email addresses and phone numbers used by the subject.
  • Websites used by the subject.
  • Description of all interaction with the subject.
  • Try to keep all original documentation, emails, text messages, and logs of communication with the subject. Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
  • Tell law enforcement everything about the online encounters—we understand it may be embarrassing for the parent or child, but providing all relevant information is necessary to find the offender, stop the abuse, and bring him/her to justice.

More information about the FBI’s guidance on child sexual exploitation and protecting your kids.

For up-to-date information and accurate information about COVID-19, visit coronavirus.govcdc.gov/coronavirus, and usa.gov/coronavirus.

Blue Zones Project offers “Tips for Working From Home”

In the spirit of supporting our organizations across the state as many offices navigate a transition to remote work and virtual meetings, Blue Zones Project of Oregon wants to provide you a few helpful tips for working from home:

  1. Set up a designated work area and working schedule.

It can be hard to ‘turn off’ from a day at work when your living and working space are the same. Be sure to designate a space for work equipment and time on the clock to ensure you still maintain a work-life balance. Be sure to turn off work notifications when you’re done working for the day.

  1. Wake up and get ready for the day as usual.

Be sure to wake up with enough time to continue your morning routine and get in the right headspace for work. Sleeping in and not giving yourself enough transition time can make your morning feel rushed and stressful. Don’t forget to include a healthy breakfast!

  1. Continue to take regular breaks.

Taking time for a short walk, standing up for a few minutes and having a scheduled lunch break are important to your routine and can ensure that you’re downshifting just enough to refocus and complete your work in a timely manner. Microbreaks, such as resting the eyes for 60 seconds, are made easy by this free Chrome extension, Break Timer.

  1. Communicate to people in your household when you are working and request quiet time.

It can be easy to be distracted by family members at home, chores that need to be done and other everyday things. Be sure to communicate with your family when you need quiet time for working and conference calls to decrease stress.


Regular stretching during the day can help reduce stress and increase productivity. Download our desk stretches flyer for easy tips to incorporate stretching into your day!


Back to the RogueValleyMagazine.com homepage

Listen to our music channel… OregonHotMix.com!

Must Read

Rogue Valley News, Monday 2/14 – Medford ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics Oregon, Bad News for Flying Lark in Grants Pass

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Monday 9/19 – Josephine County Sheriffs Bust Another Illegal Grow, False Active Shooter Incident in Medford, Wildfire Updates

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 10/25 – Sparrow Clubs Still Missing $15,000 From Ticket Company After Dancing With The Rogue Valley Stars Event & Other Local And Statewide News…

Renee Shaw