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, May 5, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Sunny, with a high near 78.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 72.
Sunny, with a high near 87.
Sunny, with a high near 91.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 90
In Southern Oregon, Jackson County Public Health is reporting no new positive test results for COVID-19, leaving the countywide total at 49 cases. The last confirmed case was announced on Friday, April 24. Earlier this week, officials said that Jackson County has “one of the lowest” rates for coronavirus in Oregon, at 22 cases per 100,000 people.
Coronvirus Cases in Southern Oregon
Jackson County: 0 new cases. 11 active cases, 38 recovered cases (49 cases total).
Josephine County: 1 new case. 9 active cases, 12 recovered, 1 death (22 cases total).
Klamath County: 0 new cases. 8 active cases, 31 recovered (39 cases total).
The Oregon Health Authority is reporting no new Covid-19 virus cases in the state for the second day in a row although they are reporting 65 new cases overnight.
More than 60,000 Oregonians have been tested for the coronavirus, and 2,745 of those people have tested positive.
The number of Oregonians sick enough to be hospitalized with coronavirus hit a new low Sunday, with state officials reporting 92 active hospitalizations.
That number represents a significant drop of more than 40% from the 156 reported hospitalizations on April 8, the first day state officials disclosed active hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19. Hospitalizations have been heading downward almost ever since, and the number of Oregonians stood at 128 last Sunday.
The tally dipped below 100 for the first time Saturday. It’s no surprise that Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties rank highly in total infections, but based on population, Marion County has by far the highest rate of infection in Oregon and now has the second-most total infections.
Washington state is just days away from entering phase one of reopening parts of the economy and social interactions, but don’t expect any big changes to Oregon’s social distancing measures this week.
In Washington, phase one of a four step plan to reopen starts on a Tuesday. Meanwhile, in Oregon, reopening the Beaver State is already looking different.
Oregonians were able to resume elective health procedures last week – and people can golf in Oregon but state parks are still closed. Gov. Kate Brown has drafted a three-phase plan for reopening the state, including allowing childcare facilities and possibly restaurants to reopen in phase one. However, it’s unclear when phase one would start. More recently, Brown unveiled guidelines for reopening Oregon counties.
Rural counties with zero to few COVID-19 cases could begin reopening as early as May 15 but would need to meet certain requirements.
In Washington, the stay at home order was extended through the rest of the month. In Oregon, there’s no timeline for Gov. Brown’s stay at home order, although Brown’s emergency declaration has been extended through July.
A salon owner in Salem is defying the state’s stay at home order. Lindsey Graham, the owner of Glamour Salon says that she will take appointment-only clients beginning this week.
Graham said she doesn’t have any income and needs to provide for her family. She said she will only book five appointments a day and her stylists will be working in separate rooms and sanitizing stations and tools in between appointments.
The Oregon Legislature’s emergency board recently approved $12 million in housing assistance — more than half of which will go to Oregonians who are on the edge of homelessness.
In all, $8.5 million is set aside for people who have lost their income due to COVID-19 and can’t pay their rent. The money will pad existing housing assistance funds available to nonprofit and government agencies around the state.
State officials said that the money will pushed out to those agencies this week, and anyone who can’t pay their rent should contact their local agency as soon as possible.
More money could be coming soon from the Oregon Housing and Community Services department. The agency has received notices from the federal government that $14.9 million is headed to Oregon to assist people in need with paying rental or utilities and to underwrite homeless shelter operations or put people without housing into hotels or motels.
Oregon lawmakers also set aside $3.5 million for shelters and motel vouchers from its latest infusion of emergency funds.
Learn more about programs no matter where you live in Oregon. Call 211 or use the 211 app.
Oregon State Police says it found illegal drugs, cash, and a weapon when it pulled over a car on Highway 140.
On Thursday April 30th, an OSP Trooper pulled over a Dodge sedan for traffic violations near Lakeview. When the Trooper searched the car they found 31.8 grams of heroin, 32.9 grams of methamphetamine, $2,606.00 in U.S. currency, and a .45 caliber handgun and ammunition.
Oregon State Police arrested the driver of the car, Dennis Langahit from Redding, California. Langahit is facing charges of Unlawful Possession of Heroin, Unlawful Delivery of Heroin, Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine, Laundering a Monetary Instrument, Tampering with Evidence, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Criminal Conspiracy.
Oregon State Police says the investigation led Troopers to to a house in Lakeview, where they found more evidence related to the distribution of methamphetamine.
Traffic on Oregon roads is lighter these days, but our work zones are still humming. May is Work Zone Safety Month in Oregon, a chance to remind drivers: when you see orange, slow down and expect delays.
As construction ramps up across the state this spring, keep an eye out for work zones, pay attention and watch your speed. It could save a life. Oregon saw an average of 331 work zone crashes involving injuries each year between 2014 and 2018. During the same time, it saw an average of 24 crashes each year involving serious injuries or deaths.
An average of 532 people were injured and 26 killed or seriously injured each year between 2014 and 2018. Twenty-eight people were killed in work zone crashes. Of those, four were workers. Another 14 workers were injured. ODOT and contractors are increasing the use of automated flagging assisted devices. These devices improve flagger safety by putting distance between them and traffic. Drivers can expect to see the devices on two lane highways throughout Oregon.
Early Monday morning, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a vehicle crash on Interstate 5 southbound near milepost 29.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a Mazda sedan, operated by 26 year old Sidney De La Cruz of Ashland, was southbound on Interstate 5 when she struck a pedestrian that was in the travel lanes of Interstate 5. A second vehicle, a Ford utility work truck, operated by 49 year old Shawn Child of Molalla, also struck the pedestrian. The pedestrian was pronounced deceased on scene. De La Cruz and Child were not injured. Interstate 5 southbound was closed for approximately 2.5 hours following the crash. OSP was assisted by Medford PD, Central Point PD, Mercy Flights, Medford Fire, and ODOT.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregonians are facing unprecedented economic instability and food insecurity.
As Oregon continues to maintain physical distancing rules, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) wants to remind you that you can apply for food, cash and childcare assistance from home.
While many DHS offices are still open to the public, members of the public are encouraged to apply online at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. The online application does experience heavy traffic from 11am – 3pm, which causes it to be unavailable intermittently. Please try use the online application in the early morning or late evening hours.
If you are not able to access the online application, please call your local office. We can email or mail you an application. You can also apply for benefits over the phone. Most assistance provided by DHS can completed without visiting an office in person.
If you need to visit an office in-person, it is important to call first. Offices have implemented physical distancing measures and may be able to help you by phone.
To find your local office, child care providers or food pantries, contact 211info:
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is extending a temporary rule change that allows Oregon gas stations to provide self-service on a voluntary basis, in order to address shortages of workers experienced by gas retailers statewide.
The rules change was first announced on March 28 and then extended on April 11 to April 25. Friday, April 24, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker extended the deadline another two weeks, through May 9. The extension of the change will still allow station attendants to help customers while avoiding face-to-face and hand-to-hand contact. It also continues to ensure physical distancing measures are in place. Attendants will continue to sanitize station equipment and fuel nozzles and assist customers with their refueling as needed.
Battelle cleaning system being installed at UofO. Will extend lifespan of masks to up to 20 uses for health care workers.
A machine being installed today at the University of Oregon (UO) will decontaminate N-95 respirators, allowing the critical personal protective equipment to be used up to 20 times by frontline health care workers. The decontamination unit is coming to Oregon courtesy of the U.S. government and to the Eugene campus through an agreement with the state and the university, which will house the unit.
N-95 respirators have been in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic and are typically used just once and then thrown away. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of decontamination units, which sterilize the masks so they can be reused. While state and private procurement of PPE has improved in recent weeks, the new decontamination system will significantly increase the lifespan of Oregon’s supply of N-95 respirators.
“We are happy to be able to support our healthcare workers and first responders in this way,” said Cass Moseley, senior associate vice president for research and innovation. “All the pieces fell into place quickly and, in a week or so, agencies across most of the state will be able to send masks here to be sterilized.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has contracted with the Battelle Memorial Institute of Ohio. The agency plans to cover the cost of installation and will manage the operations, providing decontamination free of
charge for public and private personnel who use N-95 masks from across Oregon.
“An emergency of this scale requires partnerships across all levels of government and with the private sector,” said Andrew Phelps, Director of Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management. “This is a great example of partners working together to bring an innovative solution forward to help save lives.”
The unit consists of eight shipping containers that have been converted into airtight chambers that use vaporized hydrogen peroxide to sterilize the masks. The state, U.S. government and Battelle are collaborating to ensure the chambers operate under peak safety conditions to protect the local area. The UO will house the containers for a nominal charge in facilities at the Romania lot, at the corner of Franklin Boulevard and Orchard Street. Oregon’s decontamination unit is one of 60 being placed around the country.