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Rogue Valley News, Friday, 11/20 – Oregon Health Authority today is reporting the largest daily number of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Oregon.

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

Friday, November 20, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

NOW until 1:00pm SundayAir Stagnation Advisory

Today– Areas of fog before 1pm. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 49. Calm wind.

Saturday– Areas of freezing fog before 10am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 49. Calm wind.

Sunday– Patchy freezing fog before 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. Calm wind.

Monday– A 20 percent chance of rain before 10am. Snow level 4200 feet rising to 4700 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51.

Tuesday– A chance of rain, mainly after 4pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 55.

Today’s Headlines

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The Oregon Health Authority today is reporting the largest daily number of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Oregon. COVID-19 has claimed 20 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 808, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday. Oregon Health Authority reported 1225 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 60,873.

Jackson County Public Health reported an unprecedented seven more people dead from coronavirus as of Thursday, bringing the county’s death toll to 19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Some of the details on those deaths were not yet available on Thursday, but only one of the cases died in a hospital. Six of them died at their residences — possibly homes, but likely several at long-term care facilities. Based on Jackson County Public Health’s data, outbreaks at long-term care facilities have spurred many of the recent deaths.

As of Thursday, officials reported six deaths from Avamere at Three Fountains, one from Avamere Health Services of Rogue Valley, and four from Table Rock Memory Care — all three facilities with dozens of cases among both residents and staff.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon has surpassed 400, the highest number since the pandemic began and a 137% increase since the beginning of November, according to state health data released Wednesday.

The Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday that 406 people were hospitalized, with 94 in intensive care. On Nov. 1, Oregon had 171 people in the hospital with COVID-19. A week ago, 290 people were hospitalized. The news came as health officials announced 1,099 new cases of the virus Wednesday and 10 deaths.

The biggest increase in hospitalizations was in the Portland metropolitan area, the Willamette Valley and in Jackson and Josephine counties to the southwest.

Around the State of Oregon

The Oregon Employment Department estimates that up to 70,000 workers could lose their jobless benefits on the day after Christmas, when a major federal coronavirus relief program ends. When Congress passed the CARES Act in March, it extended the period during which people are eligible for regular unemployment assistance from 26 to 39 weeks. Congress also created a new program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, for self-employed workers and others who aren’t usually eligible for jobless benefits. Both those programs expire at the end of the year, so benefits would end on Dec. 26. That’s because the following week extends past Jan. 1. PUA recipients face a hard cutoff but the employment department said many Oregon workers on the 13-week extension may qualify for 20 weeks from a similar program called Extended Benefits. The employment department says it will move eligible workers to that other program automatically when the 13-week extension expires and send them a letter notifying them of the shift.

On Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at approximately 4:15 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 42 near milepost 32.

Preliminary investigation revealed that an Audi Q7, operated by Seth Hale (41) from Grants Pass, was eastbound when it went off the roadway and crashed.  

Hale was transported to Mercy Hospital in Roseburg where on November 19, 2020 he was pronounced deceased.

On Thursday, November 19, 2020 at approximately 5:15 P.M., Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Hwy 97 near milepost 137. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a BMW, operated by Jonathan Short (39) of Bend, was northbound merging onto Hwy 97 from the Colorado Rd onramp.  The BMW merged through the right (slow) lane and into the left (fast) lane and struck a Chevrolet pickup operated by Kevin Schultz (47) of Bend.  The Chevrolet pickup crossed the center median into the southbound lane and collided with a Ford Transit van operated by Christopher Rodea (37) of Bend.

Two more southbound vehicles were involved in the crash and one more northbound vehicle was involved in the crash.  None of these operators or passengers were seriously injured.

Rodea sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Schultz was transported to St Charles Hospital in Bend with serious injuries.

Short was not transported for injuries.  

Hwy 97 was closed for approximately 8 hours.

OSP was assisted by the Bend Police Department, Bend Fire Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and ODOT.

On Thursday, November 19, 2020 at approximately 7:25 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a crash on Hwy 99E near SE Boardman Ave in Clackamas County.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Toyota Tundra, operated by Bob Weber (54) of Milwaukie, was northbound when he struck a pedestrian, Tetteh Kofi (35) of Portland,  walking eastbound across Hwy 99E near the intersection of SE Boardman Ave. 

Kofi sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

This year the Sunday after Thanksgiving is all about shopping for art. The Oregon Arts Commission is proud to be one of 330 nationwide partners for Artists Sunday, a new national movement to promote local art as holiday gifts on Sunday, Nov. 29.

The movement joins Black Friday, Small Business Saturday® and Cyber Monday to create the biggest shopping weekend of the year. It also supports artists as entrepreneurs at a time when many have suffered great losses as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Artists Sunday is a day dedicated to encouraging consumers to shop with artisans and craftspeople to give something special, unique and hand-crafted this holiday season. The Arts Commission recognizes the culture artists create and the impact they have on our local community, while adding expression and beauty to our lives.   

“Supporting working artists is an active part of our mission,” said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Arts Commission. “We are excited to be one of the inaugural partners for Artists Sunday in showcasing art as a unique and meaningful holiday gift.”

Artists from across the country, including more than 100 from Oregon (number growing daily) are participating in Artists Sunday, representing a full range of art, hand-crafted items, and performances. The diversity of artisans allows consumers ample opportunity to browse online this Artists Sunday and find the perfect gift for that special someone in their life.

Other Artists Sunday partners in Oregon include: Alberta Abbey Foundation, Portland; Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene; Charlene Larsen Center for the Performing Arts, Astoria; City of Monmouth; City of Troutdale; Clackamas County Arts Alliance; East Winds Virtual Music, Portland; Emerald Art Center, Springfield; Gallery Calapooia, Albany; IN A LANDSCAPE: Classical Music in the Wild, Portland; Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, Joseph; Lane Arts Council, Eugene; Portland Saturday Market, Portland; and Salem Art Association.

The Arts Commission invites you to search and discover Oregon artists. New artist and partner signups are welcome; artist and partner participation is free and includes toolkits for promotion and marketing.

Cancer and rheumatoid arthritis drugs continue to be the most costly

Salem — $43,525 per prescription makes the brand-name drug Yervoy, used to treat melanoma, the most expensive prescription drug for Oregon health insurance carriers, based on data released by the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation.

For the second year in a row, the brand-name drug Humira, commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, was the most costly prescription drug reported by Oregon’s health insurance companies, as well as the most prescribed specialty drug. Its 17,435 prescriptions in Oregon cost insurance companies approximately $81 million.

The division also released data on the most costly and most prescribed generic medications. These prescriptions typically cost less than comparable brand names. Glatiramer, used to treat multiple sclerosis, was the most expensive generic drug reported, costing insurance companies approximately $2,800 per prescription. Dextroamphetamine, a common drug for attention deficit disorder, was the most costly generic prescription for Oregon insurers, claims for this drug total more than $6 million annually. Levothyroxine, used to treat thyroid activity, is the most prescribed generic with approximately 232,000 prescriptions statewide.

“The data from our insurers is an important piece to understanding which prescription drugs have the biggest effect on our health care costs; we appreciate their willingness to share this information.,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner and director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “The more data we receive the better informed all of us are, that is why consumer reporting is an important piece of our drug transparency program, especially leading up to the public hearing.”

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the division will host a virtual public hearing on prescription drug prices. Oregonians are encouraged to participate by asking questions and sharing their stories of how prescription drug prices have affected them. Visit Questions and stories on prescription drug prices to post questions and share your experience.

Responses will be used to prepare for the public hearing. The questions and stories will be shared with legislators at the hearing, but personally identifiable information will be kept anonymous.

The division released lists of the most expensive, most costly, and most prescribed drugs which are reported annually by health insurance companies that offer individual and small group plans in Oregon.  

To determine what insurers paid on average for each prescription and to identify the most expensive prescriptions, the program team examined claims data for drugs prescribed to 10 or more enrollees and compared the total dollars spent by insurers to the corresponding prescription counts for each drug.

To learn more about the program or view the most expensive, most costly, and most prescribed drug lists, visit the program’s website – dfr.oregon.gov/drugtransparency.

To report a specific increase in the cost of a prescription drug:

November 20, 2020 – OnPoint Community Credit Union announced today it will open 20 new branches located within Fred Meyer stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2021.

This is the largest branch expansion in OnPoint’s history and the news reinforces the credit union’s commitment to its members and the Northwest region. As Oregon’s largest credit union, OnPoint currently operates 36 branches, with four locations having opened in 2020 alone, and serves more than 415,000 members.

“As part of our unwavering commitment to Oregon and SW Washington, we are always looking for new ways to expand our services and grow our presence to better assist our members,” said Rob Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “Fred Meyer serves as a community staple across the region, and when an opportunity arose to work with this local company while at the same time be more accessible to our members, we were thrilled to embark upon this new partnership.”

OnPoint’s new in-store branches will open on a rolling basis throughout the first half of 2021, with construction set to begin in January. Each branch will offer members a complete suite of financial services, including membership enrollment, consumer and commercial lending, mortgages, financial planning, ATMs and notarization.

“We are honored to be selected as Fred Meyer’s community credit union partner,” said Tory McVay, OnPoint’s Senior Vice President and Chief Retail Officer. “Co-locating with a major regional supermarket will provide our growing membership and the communities we serve with convenient one-stop access to essential financial services. We are proud to not only help our members achieve their financial goals, but to also invest more deeply in our region and provide up to 200 new jobs to members of our community.”

OnPoint’s expansion comes on the heels of the credit union adding 15 counties to its charter in June 2020, increasing the total to 28 across Oregon and two in Southwest Washington. With this charter expansion, more than four million Oregonians are now eligible for OnPoint membership. The 15 counties added to OnPoint’s charter are Clatsop, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lincoln, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco and Wheeler.

“We are excited to welcome OnPoint Community Credit Union into our stores,” stated Jeffery Temple, Director of Corporate Affairs for Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. “Our customers rely on Fred Meyer to provide one-stop-shopping, so we look forward to offering a trusted community credit union to fulfill our customers’ financial needs.”

Additional details regarding the new Fred Meyer in-store branches will be shared in January 2021.

ABOUT ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION

OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 415,000 members and with assets of $7.7 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 28 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler, and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.

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