The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting and RogueValleyMagazine.com
Oregon health officials reported 868 new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 Sunday and two more deaths. The state is experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections and has reached record high positivity rates and hospitalizations in November.
Oregon has surpassed more than 1,000 cases a day twice this month. The state total was 56,880 cases on Sunday. The two new deaths were those of an 81-year-old man and a 66-year-old woman, both in Umatilla County.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (13), Clackamas (86), Clatsop (3), Columbia (8), Coos (5), Curry (2), Deschutes (13), Douglas (16), Gilliam (1), Harney (5), Hood River (7), Jackson (37), Josephine (4), Klamath (2), Lake (3), Lane (57), Lincoln (2), Linn (6), Malheur (12), Marion (176), Multnomah (184), Polk (18), Umatilla (47), Union (19), Wasco (6), Washington (110), and Yamhill (26).
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced a statewide two-week “freeze” that will limit restaurants and bars to takeout only and close gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period.
If people do not abide by the governor’s latest mandates, which restricts social gatherings to six people, they could face a citation, fine or arrest.
The freeze will take effect starting Wednesday, Nov. 18 through Dec. 2 and aims to limit group activities and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The state is experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections and has reached record high positivity rates and hospitalizations in November. During Friday’s press conference, officials gave grim descriptions of the state’s current situation: “Likely the most dangerous time in Oregon”, “the roughest days of the pandemic” and “dark days ahead.”
The governor has long warned about implementing tighter restrictions if case numbers did not fall. Just a week ago, Brown announced a two-week “social activity pause” for nine counties. But this week, officials said that more needed to be done. The latest set of restrictions are the most stringent since the start of the pandemic.
And that’s not all. Oregon employers must take additional steps to keep their employees safe – and notify them when they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus – under new rules that take effect today.
Oregon OSHA, the state’s workplace safety division, announced the rules last week after a four-month process. Workplace outbreaks have been a recurring problem since the pandemic hit the state last spring, especially in small towns where infections linked to food processing facilities have spread throughout communities. Oregon OSHA accepts complaints about workplace violations online.
Severe workplace outbreaks have persisted all year but health officials haven’t blamed them for Oregon’s unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases over the past three weeks. Rather, health authorities say reckless social gatherings are behind the latest surge.
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the country, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued travel advisories Friday urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus, according to a news release.
The travel advisories urge against non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country, and encourage residents to stay local. In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states’ travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household.
The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.
The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in many states and countries. Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or Oregonians returning from other states or countries could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. In addition, travel itself can be a risk for exposure to COVID-19, particularly travel through shared conveyance such as air, bus or rail travel.
While there is a protected winner of the U.S. Presidential election on November 3rd of Joe Biden, the votes are still being counted. Trump supporters let the community know what on Saturday at the corner of Lincoln and W. 11th. Their chants and cheers tracked Trump’s own false claims that he, not Biden, actually won the Nov. 3 election.
These protesters along with some 70 million voters want what they say “election fraud”, to stop in its tracks.
Many of them waved flags and held signs that read “Stop the Steal” and “Women for Trump.” Most have felt they couldn’t speak their mind and are slowly losing their constitutional rights.
Several marches and rallies were held in other cities in Oregon and across the country on Saturday.
One supporter said “There are so many people out there who are thinking they are alone about their suspicions about the fraud and with being Trump supporters.”
Oregon Employment Department Prepares for Hike in Unemployment Claims During Two-Week Freeze
(Salem, OR)–The Oregon Employment Department announced today that it is preparing for an increase in unemployment claims following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide Two-Week Freeze. Oregonians whose employment is impacted by this effort to curb the exponential spread of COVID-19 will need to either file an initial claim or restart a stopped claim.
“While the Two-Week Freeze may not directly affect all businesses, we want Oregonians to know that we are in a much better place than we were at the start of the pandemic to respond to an uptick in unemployment claims. We are ready to take your claims and ensure you get your benefits as quickly as possible, whether through an existing benefit program or any new federal program that may get passed,” said acting director David Gerstenfeld.
The Employment Department is preparing to increase its claims processing capacity with support from the National Guard. The department is also developing an option for impacted employers to submit employee information in bulk to minimize the need for employees to locate key information that may not be easily accessible.
Oregonians whose employment is impacted by the Two-Week Freeze should take the Employment Department’s Eligibility Quiz to determine which benefit program they are eligible for.
If a claimant has returned to work and their employment is impacted by the Two-Week Freeze, they will need to restart their claim. Claims can be restarted by going to the Online Claim System and selecting Restart Your Claim (the eighth button down). Those unable to restart their claim this way should contact the Employment Department via the Contact Us form and select the Restarting my claim option.
Taking care during stressful times
Strong emotions like fear, sadness, or other symptoms of depression are normal, as long as they are temporary and don’t interfere with daily activities. If these emotions last too long or cause other problems, it’s a different story.
Sometimes stress can be good. It can help you develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations. Stress can be harmful, however, when it is prolonged or severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control.
Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that cause you to feel threatened or anxious. Stress can be related to positive events (such as planning your wedding) or negative events (such as dealing with the effects of a natural disaster).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer tips for self-care.
Safe + Strong also has resources and information on coping with stress.
Salem – As a temporary rule addressing COVID-19 in all workplaces is set to take effect Monday – with certain parts phased in later – Oregon OSHA encourages employers and workers to use the division’s resources to help understand and comply with the requirements.
The following resources are now available online under “Documents,” with more on the way in the weeks to come:
- Exposure Risk Assessment Form – Employers can fill out this template (available in Word and PDF) as part of the requirement to conduct a risk assessment. The assessment must involve participation and feedback from employees. It gauges potential employee exposure to COVID-19, including addressing specific questions about how to minimize such exposure.
- Model Policy for Notification of Employees when COVID-19 Exposure Occurs – Employers can satisfy the requirement to notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related infection by adopting this model procedure, available in Word and PDF.
- The COVID-19 Hazards Poster – This required poster is available in both English and Spanish. The poster does not have to be printed and posted in color. Employers may also visit Oregon OSHA’s publications webpage to place an order.
- Overview Table – This table summarizes the requirements and how they apply. It also shows the effective dates of certain provisions of the temporary rule.
Oregon OSHA urges a careful reading of the temporary rule, which is intended to curb the spread of coronavirus in all workplaces by requiring employers to implement a comprehensive set of risk-reducing measures. It is expected to remain in effect until May 4, 2021.
Meanwhile, the division offers consultation services and technical specialists to help employers comply with the requirements. Here is the contact information for both:
Consultation services – Provides no-cost assistance with safety and health programs
- Phone (toll-free in Oregon): 800-922-2689
- Field offices
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical staff – Helps employers understand requirements
- Phone (toll-free in Oregon): 800-922-2689
- Email: email@example.com
Beginning in late June, Oregon OSHA’s process to develop the temporary rule included more than a dozen virtual forums dealing with specific issues and industries before the first of four stakeholder review drafts was even developed. Each subsequent draft incorporated changes resulting from the division’s discussion with a large number of employer and worker representatives, as well as feedback from the public at large.
Following adoption of its temporary COVID-19 rule for all workplaces, Oregon OSHA continues to pursue permanent rulemaking that would provide a structure for responding to potential future disease outbreaks. More information is available on the division’s infectious disease rulemaking page and on its COVID-19 resources page.
On Tuesday, November 3, Oregon State Police Detectives began an investigation into child Sex Abuse allegations in Josephine County.
On Monday, November 9, detectives served a search warrant in the 3500 block of Quartz Creek Rd. in Merlin, Oregon. 55-year-old David Campa attempted to flee, on foot, out the back of the residence but was quickly detained.
Campa was arrested and lodged in the Josephine County Jail on the following charges: 2 Counts of Sex Abuse I, 2 Counts of Sodomy I, 1 Count of Using Child in Display of Sexual Explicit Conduct The Oregon State Police Criminal Investigations Division was assisted by the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.
A demobilization ceremony for Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers of 1-186 Infantry, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was held on Nov. 15, 2020 to recognize and honor their nearly yearlong deployment as part of Task Force Guardian.
The ceremony, conducted at the National Guard armory in Roseburg, acknowledged all of their efforts that contributed to peace keeping and security throughout Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. This deployment was a part of the second largest mobilization of Oregon National Guard Citizen-Soldiers since World War II.
Today, Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington (GSOSW) kicks off the first-ever STEMapalooza, a two-day virtual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math expo.
Girls will engage with STEM experts, explore STEM careers and experience live webinar panels, science demonstrations, and self-guided activities. STEMapalooza is generously sponsored by First Tech Federal Credit Union.
Throughout the two-day event, girls can explore more than 20 distinct STEM experiences, from live panels and demonstrations to self-guided STEM experiments and activities from partners including:
- First Tech Federal Credit Union
- Cambia Health Solutions Women in Information Security
- Chintimini Wildlife Center
- Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
- GSOSW Medford Service Center’s Garden Leader
- GSOSW Portland Metro Astronomy Club (Girl-Led)
- Haystack Rock Awareness Program
- Mad Science of Portland & Vancouver
- Microsoft Portland
- Miss Oregon
- National Association of Women in Construction – Portland
- Oregon Mermaids
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
- Oregon State University’s Marine and Geology Repository
- Portland State University Women in Aerospace
- Society of Women Engineers, Columbia River Section
- Women in Science PDX
- Women in Transportation Seminar
- University of Oregon’s Pine Mountain Observatory
“We know that for girls—and especially girls of color—representation matters,” says Nicole Frisch, Senior Director, Community Engagement First Tech Federal Credit Union. “That’s why we’re excited to partner with Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington for STEMapalooza, where girls will be able to see and engage with career professionals who look like them, learn about education and career journeys, and find a path for themselves in STEM. It’s one way we can work together to diversify the STEM pipeline, and support our next generation of thinkers, doers and leaders.”
Research shows that girls are keenly interested in STEM and excel at it. Yet, for a variety of reasons, girls often don’t pursue STEM—starting as early as elementary school—and women and girls are underrepresented across all levels of the STEM pipeline. Girl Scout STEM programs are designed to introduce Girl Scouts of every age to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and bridge the gender gap with progression-based, multi-year STEM experiences such as Girl Scouts’ new STEM Career Exploration badges. Through STEMapalooza, Girl Scouts in grades 2-8 will be able to complete steps toward these new badges as they connect with STEM professionals, learn about what they do, and discover their pathway to STEM careers.
“At GSOSW, it is so important for us to create STEM opportunities for girls where they can see themselves represented in a field that they have been told is traditionally not for them,” says Tessa Crosby, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope to inspire girls through these opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones to try something new, so they can cultivate the skills to become the STEM leaders of tomorrow.”
WHO: 175 girls in grades K-12; Girl Scout volunteers and staff; STEM professionals.