The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley, RogueValleyMagazine.com
Monday, April 13, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
As of Monday morning at 6AM, Jackson County Public Health have three new cases of COVID-19.
Jackson County Public Health says the three new cases were confirmed on Saturday. No new cases were confirmed on Sunday. There are now 46 confirmed Coronavirus cases in Jackson County.
At this time, there are no fatalities in Jackson County from COVID-19.
Josephine County death
Josephine County Public Health schedules COVID-19 press conference JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — A 81-year-old Josephine County man died April 10 from complications relating to a COVID-19 infection.
This is the first death of a COVID-19 patient from Josephine County.
“We are asking everyone with knowledge of this case, including media partners, to respect the family’s privacy and to give them time to notify friends and family prior to publishing any information,” said Mike Weber, Public Health director.
As of Monday morning, two additional patients from Josephine County have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to 19.
JCPH is investigating all cases to identify contacts and exposures and to isolate and monitor all individuals relevant to the cases. Public Health will reach out to anyone suspected of exposure to COVID-19.
In Josephine County, a total of 670 COVID-19 tests from Josephine County have been reported to OHA, and a total of 19 tests have been positive. More samples have been sent to approved labs, but results have not yet been returned.
The Southern Oregon Covid-19 totals as of today are:
Jackson County 44
Josephine County 19
Douglas County 12
Curry County 3
Siskiyou County 5
Klamath County 25
COVID-19 has claimed 1 more life in the state of Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from 51 to 52. Oregon Health Authority also reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the state total to 1527.
The new COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (4), Deschutes (1), Douglas (2), Jackson (2), Josephine (1), Lane (2), Linn (1), Malheur (1), Marion (13), Multnomah (31), Umatilla (2), Wasco (1), and Washington (18). Oregon’s fifty-second COVID-19 death is an 89-year-old woman in Multnomah County, who tested positive on March 25, 2020, and died on March 25, 2020. She had underlying conditions.
The Oregon Department of Human Services announced that the Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will provide an additional $30 million each for the months of April and May 2020 to eligible SNAP households.
SNAP households will automatically receive the additional allotment in the same way they receive their current benefits. For most customers this is an EBT card. No additional action is needed from Oregonians already enrolled in SNAP. Households that already receive the maximum benefit will not receive any additional benefits.
This allotment will not permanently change a household’s monthly benefit amount. It is a temporary supplement to help during the current health crisis. DHS will not be sending individual notices to households about the emergency allotments.
OREGONIANS START RECEIVING $600 PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION PAYMENTS
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 was signed into law on March 27.
The CARES Act allows payment of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). The Oregon Employment Department has started issuing these payments to eligible individuals as of April 10, 2020.
Oregonians who are already eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits and eligible for FPUC will receive two weekly payments; one for regular UI benefits, and an additional $600 payment.
Individuals will be receiving FPUC benefits using the same payment method as their regular UI benefits for the week. FPUC payments will be paid for each week someone is eligible from March 29, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020. The $600 payments will be retroactive for those eligible for payments.
No additional action is needed to apply for or receive FPUC benefits. In order to receive the $600 benefit, an individual must have an existing Unemployment Insurance claim, continue claiming weekly benefits, and be eligible to receive benefits.
Individuals may receive FPUC if they are receiving unemployment benefits under one of the following programs:
- Regular Unemployment Insurance;
- Unemployment Insurance for Civilian Federal Employees (UCFE);
- Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX);
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);
- Extended Benefits (EB);
- Work Share Benefits, or Oregon’s Short-Time Compensation (STC) Program;
- Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA); or the
- Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program.
The Employment Department continues receiving guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program into its systems.
The PUA benefits allow the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers not already eligible to receive unemployment benefits for the first time. More information about the upcoming PUA program and all benefits associated with the CARES Act can be found on the Employment Department’s COVID-19 page.
To file an online claim for unemployment benefits, go to Oregon.gov/employ or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI.
For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to WorkSourceOregon.org. Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.
Office of State Fire Marshal Extends Rules Change Allowing Self-Service at Oregon Gas Stations through April 25, extending a temporary rules in order to address shortages of workers experienced by gas retailers statewide.
“We appreciate the patience of all Oregonians and businesses with this temporary suspension of rules, which now allow for self-service at Oregon gas stations,” said Walker. “These changes provide station operators flexibility to manage their operations and help to make refueling safer for both customers and service station attendants, while keeping stations open at a critical time when COVID-19 is impacting gas retailers who serve our many essential workers statewide.”
The change allows station attendants to help these customers while avoiding face-to-face, hand-to-hand contact. It also applies physical distancing measures. Attendants will continue to sanitize equipment and fuel nozzles and continue to help customers with their refueling as needed.
Self-service is not mandatory, but having it as an option allows some gas stations to continue their operations with less staff and allows Oregonians who have to travel to still drive without concern they may not be able to find gas.
Unattended self-service is permitted when a gas station owner exhausts all staffing options. Stations that do not have an attendant on duty are required to post safety signs for physical distancing and instructions showing customers how to operate a fuel pump correctly.
The City of Grants Pass recognizes that residents utilize the open burn window to dispose of woody vegetation that has accumulated throughout the winter months.
However, it’s important to weigh possible effects on the wider community. Smoke from fires during the current pandemic may result in the following negative consequences for the public and first responders:
- Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19, leading to unnecessary testing or self-isolation.
- Exposure to smoke and other forms of air pollution can increase the risk of contracting an infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19, increase the severity of existing respiratory infections, and worsen underlying chronic respiratory conditions.
- There is a severe shortage of personal protective equipment to reduce smoke exposure at this time.
- First responders are on a heightened level of response to COVID-19 and reducing calls for smoke investigation and escaped open burns keeps resources available.
COVID-19 affects the respiratory system. Fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms. While some people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, most patients recover at home, where smoke from a nearby outdoor burn could worsen their condition. To avoid additional health impacts, the Oregon State Fire Marshal has asked all people in Oregon to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning activities until further notice. We have elected to follow their guidance.
The City of Grants Pass encourages the public to compost, chip or take your yard debris to a recycling center. You can also contact your sanitation service for a green waste container.
- Republic Services 541-479-3371
- Southern Oregon Sanitation 541-479-5335
Please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau for questions. They may be reached Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed for lunch from 12:00 PM until 1:00 PM). Offices are closed to in-person contacts due to COVID-19.
SALEM, OR—The State of Oregon received a shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today, replenishing the state’s stockpiles of critically needed N95 masks and other PPE.
Masks, face shields, gloves and other PPE are vital tools in the state’s ability to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and help ensure frontline health care workers have the equipment they need to stay safe.
The shipment of 78 pallets includes N95 masks, scrubs, coveralls, and face shields.
The materials will need to go through the inventory process before the state can report exact totals, but the state expects approximately 150,000 N95 masks, 2,500 scrubs pants, 2,000 scrubs tops, 250 coveralls, and nearly 67,000 face shields. The PPE distribution center in Wilsonville will ship the equipment to Oregon counties in need.
The PPE was procured from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance warehouse based in Dubai. The U.S. has not utilized materials from this stockpile for a domestic emergency since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Today is a good day to reach out
It’s natural to struggle during this time of increased isolation, and we want to encourage you to reach out today.
Whether that’s reaching out to check on someone by sending a text message, making a phone call, or writing a letter, we can all help make someone’s day better. You can also reach out to your favorite non-profit organization to see what kind of financial or volunteer support they need at this time.
Reaching out can also mean reaching out for help. There are many resources that are available to help support you during this crisis. While we know physical distancing is an important strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, we all need connection. Let’s support each other.
The Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority have launched a multi-agency support team to assess the needs of long-term care facilities experiencing increased COVID-19 cases and help them access resources to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to residents and staff.
The new team is built on DHS and OHA’s ongoing efforts and provides for stronger coordination in providing both intervention and support. As part of this work, the state is beginning to contract with facilities to develop additional capacity to safely treat COVID-19 patients.
“COVID-19 already has had a significant impact on Oregonians in long-term care facilities,” said Fariborz Pakseresht, director of DHS. “We are saddened by the tragedies that have occurred, and our thoughts are with all the residents, staff and families who have been affected.” DHS and OHA entered a new data sharing arrangement that will allow them to better monitor incidences of the virus at long-term care facilities statewide and share status updates with the public. An initial report from this data shows nine long-term care facilities have five confirmed cases or more.