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
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
A 20 percent chance of rain before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. Calm winds. Overnight, cloudy with a low near 52.
A 30% chance of showers during the day, with a after 11am. high near 72.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. Light west northwest wind.
A 20% chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 73.
Sunny, with a high near 83.
Thursday morning, Jackson County Public Health said that it had received no new positive test results for COVID-19 for the seventh consecutive day leaving the countywide total at 48 cases.
The last confirmed case was announced last Thursday. For the first time, the County reported the number of cases that have fully recovered as of this week. Of the 48 cases in the area, 33 have recovered while 15 are still being monitored by public health staff.
Around the state, COVID-19 has claimed five more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 83, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday. Oregon Health Authority also reported 68 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 2,127.
The new COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Clackamas (8), Coos (1), Deschutes (4), Douglas (1), Hood River (1), Klamath (3), Linn (4), Malheur (1), Marion (9), Multnomah (16), Umatilla (1), Wasco (1), Washington (18).
-third the historical irrigation demand of the Klamath Project.
Governor Kate Brown announced on Thursday that she will be lifting the order that has postponed all elective and non-emergency medical procedures in the state due to the COVID-19 crisis.
If health care providers can prove that they have met new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness they will be able to resume all other procedures starting May 1. This includes hospitals, surgical centers, medical offices, and dental offices. Most routine procedures at medical and dental facilities were put on hold in order to preserve PPE and hospital surge capacity as coronavirus cases began to mount in Oregon over the beginning of March.
During the week of April 12 to April 18, the Oregon Employment Department received 36,700 initial claims for unemployment benefits. Since public health measures began the week starting March 15 Oregon has received about 333,700 initial claims for unemployment insurance.
The Employment Department continues processing initial and ongoing unemployment benefits claims at a record pace, resulting in $119 million in benefits paid to Oregonians during the week of April 12 to April 18. The agency continues expanding capacity for taking claims, with 520 employees now dedicated to taking unemployment claims, and additional contact center facility planning underway.
Employment Department efforts also continue toward launching the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Once open, the PUA program will provide the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers not already eligible, along with those not usually eligible due to too few hours or earnings, and those who were going to start work but could not, with benefits never before available.
Programming, testing, and staff training for the PUA program are in progress. Upon successful testing, the Employment Department expects to open the program for applications by the end of April.
Several auto insurance companies have been working with the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation to provide auto insurance premium refunds and credits to Oregonians.
The refunds and credits are due to the reduced risk of auto accidents because of Gov. Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order. The division encourages all carriers to consider providing refunds that reflect the reduced risk of auto liabilities due to the emergency order. This includes taking steps to reclassify vehicle usage, and properly adjusting any mileage-based policy metrics.
Last week, the division provided guidance to insurance carriers for issuing the refunds to help process the filings and get money to consumers as quickly as possible. In addition to the premium refunds, the division has asked all insurers to provide temporary private passenger auto insurance coverage for drivers delivering food, prescriptions, and other products for their employers.
If you have questions about your auto insurance premium refund or about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company.
Earlier this week, an Oregon State Police Trooper from the Grants Pass Area Command contacted a 2019 Dodge Ram Pickup for a traffic violation on Interstate 5 near milepost 63.
The driver provided the Trooper with a counterfeit identification. The Trooper developed probable cause to search the vehicle and during the search located $62,649 in U.S. currency and 17.1 grams of Cocaine. The driver was later identified as Rey David Aguilera-Limon and the passenger Luis Fernando Herrera-Limon. Both were lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Possession of Cocaine, Identity Theft, and Money Laundering.
Firefighters say they’re seeing more and more grass fires as we inch closer to warmer months. One of the main causes for fires in Southern Oregon during this time of year are private burns that get out of control.
Oregon Department of Forestry is asking rural residents to hold off on burning because of our current dry and warm conditions. Although it has not been declared to be fire season for Southern Oregon the conditions are right for fires to spread quickly. The problem is that spring is usually one of the few times for property owners to clear underbrush and burn fire fuels, creating defensible space around their homes. Ballou says it’s still a good idea to create burn piles and clear underbrush, they are just suggesting you wait until fall to burn.
According to Ballou, if you start a fire that gets out of control you could be help financially responsible for firefighting costs. As we do get closer to fire season and firefighters warn of an early season, fire agencies are working to solve another problem; fire-fighting during a pandemic.
COVID-19 has caused some changes for structural firefighters already and right now multiple agencies are working to identify ways to best protect firefighters, not only from the dangers of their job but also the dangers of the virus.