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Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 12/22 – Covid-19 Vaccines in Full Swing, Protestors at State Capitol Sessions

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Areas of fog before 2pm. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 43. Calm wind.

Wednesday- Patchy fog between 11am and 2pm. Areas of freezing fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 48. Light and variable wind.

Thursday– Areas of freezing fog before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 48. East southeast wind around 6 mph.

Christmas Day – A 50 percent chance of rain, mainly after 11am. Snow level 4400 feet rising to 5200 feet in the afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 47.

Saturday- A chance of rain. Snow level 3700 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45.

Oregon reports 846 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 6 new deathsCOVID-19 has claimed six more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,347 the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.Oregon Health Authority reported 846 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 103,755.COVID-19 hospitalizations: The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 528, which is two fewer than yesterday. There are 121 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, no change from yesterday. The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity. More information about hospital capacity can be found here

The new cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (7), Clackamas (114), Clatsop (3), Columbia (11), Coos (5), Crook (4), Curry (3), Deschutes (39), Douglas (27), Harney (3), Hood River (10), Jackson (41), Jefferson (26), Josephine (32), Lane (26), Lincoln (4), Linn (29), Malheur (4), Marion (69), Morrow (1), Multnomah (212), Polk (10), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (23), Union (1), Wasco (11), Washington (108), Yamhill (18).

Long-term care residents and staff receive COVID-19 vaccine

Today, long-term care residents and staff began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations under a statewide rollout plan that prioritizes Oregonians the pandemic disproportionally impacts.   

Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more likely to suffer life-threatening health consequences if they contract the virus. Given that the virus is so contagious, the risks are particularly high for those who live in large group settings. Because of this, an estimated 22,425 vaccine doses are planned for nursing facilities, and as the rollout continues, additional doses will be allocated for assisted living and residential care facilities.   

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program to implement the COVID-19 vaccine plan in Oregon. The plan calls for the pharmacy partners involved  ̶  Consonus Pharmacy, CVS and Walgreens  ̶  to set up on-site vaccination clinics at the state’s long-term care facilities as well as smaller congregate care settings. Smaller settings include group homes for older adults, adults with disabilities and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as behavioral health residential care centers.  

“We are full of hope that this vaccination program will reduce the suffering and hardship experienced by long-term care residents, staff and their families,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “While we are pleased with the speed at which the vaccination program is rolling out, it will take some time to reach all facilities. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant and continue strict infection control policies and practices.”

CVS Pharmacy Manager, Cameron Schmitt, stands in front of Village Manor where a COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held today

CVS Pharmacy Manager, Cameron Schmitt, stands in front of Village Manor where a COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held today.

Oregon reports 4,475 people vaccinated in first week of COVID-19 immunizations

OHA launches COVID-19 vaccine dashboard

OHA announced that 4,475 health care workers were vaccinated in the first week of the state’s COVID-19 immunization program.

The data are part of a new public data dashboard showing the status of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination effort.

The dashboard will provide daily updates on the number of people partially and fully vaccinated, along with key demographic information showing race, ethnicity, sex and age of everyone immunized.

The dashboard also shows information by county.

Right now, there is not enough vaccine to immunize everyone in the United States against COVID-19. Currently the only people prioritized to receive the vaccine are health care workers and people who live or work in long-term care facilities, such as skilled nursing facilities. The numbers in the dashboard reflect the total number of vaccines administered to date in Oregon, based on these populations.

health care workers, along with staff and residents of nursing facilities have first access to the vaccination in Oregon

Stay home for the holidays

People in Oregon love having a reason to gather, and there’s no better time of year to spend with loved ones than the winter holidays. We want to remind you that this year the safest activity is to stay home. If you are thinking of traveling, please consider the risk. The type of travel that is the lowest risk is traveling by car with only the people you live with.

If you do have to travel, here are some tips for increasing your safety: 

  • If you can, travel alone by car, or only with people you live with.
  • Limit stops and wear a face covering when you do have to stop.  
  • If you have to travel by airplane, train, ship, ferry, subway, taxi or ride share wear a face covering. 
  • Keep six feet of physical distance between yourself and anyone you don’t live with whenever possible.  
  • Wash your hands often. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in case there is no place to wash hands. 
  • Stay in a separate room from others when you arrive at your destination.    

Anyone who returns to Oregon or enters the state because of non-essential travel is urged to quarantine for 14 days after arrival and limit their interactions to the people they live with.  

More information on traveling safely is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, and you can find Governor Brown’s travel advisory here.  

travel safety: along the way. wear face covering when you stop, maintain physical distancing, wash hands

Stay informed about COVID-19:

Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.

United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.

Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

State police declared an unlawful assembly at Oregon’s Capitol building Monday
morning as protesters attempted to force their way in during the third special legislative
session.

Lawmakers are at the Capitol to consider measures that would provide $800
million in relief to people struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic and this summer’s
massive wildfires. The Statesman Journal reports that a smaller group of protestors
were successful in entering a portion of the Capitol building, while protesters outside
banged their fists against the doors chanting, “Let us in.” At least two people were
arrested. The Capitol is closed to the public during the special session as part of a
COVID-19 safety measure. However virtual testimony about the proposed bills that are
expected to be discussed by lawmakers Monday was allowed during Thursday and
Saturday hearings.

Update – OSP Responds To Activities At The Oregon State Capitol- Marion County

On Monday, December 21, 2020 at approximately 8:30 A.M., a group of people attempted to enter and protest inside the Oregon State Capitol.  The Oregon State Capitol is closed due to COVID precautions.  The Oregon State Capitol had set up televisions outside of the building for people to monitor the proceedings inside.  Oregon State Police Troopers had checked and secured the doors to the Capitol.  A door on the Northwest corner of the building was opened by a person exiting the building.  Several protesters entered the vestibule area.  There they were contacted by Troopers and asked to leave.  As Troopers attempted to keep them from entering the main area of the Capitol, the altercation became physical (pushing).  A protester sprayed some kind of chemical irritant (mace /OC / bear spray) into the vestibule.  Troopers used inert Pepper Balls to keep the crowd back (essentially a paint ball filled with an inert powder) and Salem Police were able to keep the crowd contained in the vestibule. 

OSP Troopers and Salem Police gave everyone in the vestibule several warnings to leave or they would be arrested for trespassing.  At approximately 10:30 A.M., a protester again sprayed a chemical irritant at police.  Police arrested Ryan Lyles (41) for felon in possession of body armor and unlawful use of mace.  Protesters also deployed a device, which emitted smoke during the engagement.

Two people remained in the vestibule and were arrested, Ronald Vanvlack (75) and Jerry Dyerson (53) and charged with Criminal Trespass and Disorderly Conduct.

At approximately 1:30 P.M., the crowd again attempted to gain entry through a door on the west side of the Capitol.  The window to the door was broken, but the building was not accessed.  Police arrested Jeremiah Pruitt (35) for Criminal Mischief and Disorderly Conduct. 

Jeremy Roberts (40) was also identified as a person that attempted to gain access through the west door and an attack on two reporters.  Troopers are attempting to locate him at this time and he is not currently in custody.

All arrested were lodged at the Marion County Jail and charges will be referred to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office for consideration.

The 3rd Special Session of the 80th legislative assembly was able to continue and conduct legislative business throughout the day.

On December 21, 2020 at 1:30 P.M. a subject attempted to gain entry on the west side of the Oregon State Capitol building by breaking a widow of one of the doors.  He was taken into custody.  

On December 21, 2020, while dealing with individuals that had gained entry into the Oregon State Capitol, OSP Troopers where sprayed with some kind of chemical agent on 2 different occasions.

At 8:30 A.M., when protesters entered that capitol building, at least one of the protesters used chemical agents on the police.  That person is still outstanding.  OSP used inert pepper ball, while dealing with these protestors. 

At 10:30 A.M., when there were enough resources available between OSP & Salem Police Department, they started to push the crowd out of the building, when another individual used bear spray against police officers.  That person, who has been identified as Ryan Lyles (41) (see photo), has been taken into custody.  He is being lodged at Marion County Jail on multiple charges including trespassing and assaulting a police officer.

OSP has not deployed any CS gas.

The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their first amendment rights, but it must be lawfully.  Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property.  If you commit a crime you will be subject to arrest.

Due to the overwhelming number of media requests, we will not be responding to individual requests at this time.

On December 21, 2020 around 8:30 A.M.  during the third special session protesters where able to gain access to the Oregon State Capitol.  The Oregon State Capitol is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Oregon State Police and Salem Police were able to get everyone out of the building.  Two individuals refused to leave the building and where taken into custody

The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their first amendment rights, but it must be lawfully.  Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property.  If you commit a crime you will be subject to arre

Hospitals Disappointed After Failure To Pass Limited Protections For Medical Providers

Today House Democratic leadership failed to extend important protections to health care providers during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The legislation would have enabled frontline workers to continue to care for Oregonians within the state’s new emergency standards without fear of legal action. Despite bipartisan joint committee support, SB 1803 did not garner enough votes after disagreement over last-minute amendments brought forward on behalf of SEIU and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. 
 
The original version of SB 1803 was a consensus proposal carefully crafted over many months by a workgroup made up of a wide range of stakeholders and would have instituted limited liability protections only during the COVID-19 emergency period. The amendment offered on behalf of SEIU, however, would create permanent changes in law that have long been on the organized labor wish list.  
 
“Oregon’s health care providers should not fear being sued while they comply with new guidelines issued in response to COVID-19,” said Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of OAHHS. “We are disappointed that House Democrats would only support a bill that included an amendment that takes the legislation outside of its original purpose. This bill has been the result of a long, good faith stakeholder process. To see it hijacked at the 11th hour is disappointing and disturbing. There are no winners here – but the losers are the physicians, nurses and other providers on the frontlines every day caring for Oregonians during a pandemic. Let’s be clear, hospital and health systems stand with our staff, who continue to show up for Oregonians each and every day in our facilities during this unprecedented time.” 
 
SB 1803 did not provide so-called “blanket immunity.” Providers could still be sued for gross negligence or reckless misconduct. The protections cover government imposed rules and executive orders that impact their delivery of care.  
 
Frontline health care providers have been critical partners throughout this pandemic, responding to patient needs as COVID-19 cases have surged. Hospitals have worked since the start of the pandemic to secure protections for health care workers who must make excruciating life-or-death decisions in an environment of ever-changing, and at times conflicting, guidance and executive orders. 
 
“Health care workers are community heroes, and it is incredibly unfortunate that House Democrats chose not to support them today,” said Hultberg. “Our providers have shown up every day under incredibly difficult circumstances. We owe them a modicum of protection during this crisis. We hope the legislators who voted to include the last minute amendment will see the light and advance SB 1803 with its original language. Our thanks go the Senate leadership and House Republicans who supported the original legislation. We are especially grateful to Senator Prozanski, who worked tirelessly to help develop a reasonable consensus with bipartisan support.”  

About OAHHS: Founded in 1934, OAHHS is a statewide, nonprofit trade association that works closely with local and national government leaders, business and citizen coalitions, and other professional health care organizations to enhance and promote community health and to continue improving Oregon’s innovative health care delivery system. 

Nearly 141,000 Oregonians chose health plans for 2021 through HealthCare.gov,
according to initial data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

The preliminary enrollment total is down 3% compared to the end of open enrollment for
2020 coverage. A number of factors have influenced enrollment this year, including
more Oregonians qualifying for and remaining enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan due to
COVID-19, Flowers said. People who chose coverage during open enrollment, whether through HealthCare.gov or directly from an insurance company, must pay their premium when they receive their January bill in order to make their coverage effective. Open enrollment ended Dec. 15, which means most people will be able to buy coverage for
2021 only if they have experienced a qualifying life event, like a loss of coverage, moving, or another change to the household. American Indians and Alaska Natives living in Oregon can enroll in coverage anytime throughout the year.

SCRATCH-IT PRIZE PAYOUTS UP $2 MILLION OVER LAST YEAR

Oregon Lottery logo

December 21, 2020 – Salem, Ore. – Graeme Huguenot was one of thousands of players in 2020 who felt the thrill of winning prizes on Oregon Lottery Scratch-its.

In 2020, players across the state won more than $9 million in Scratch-it prizes of $600 or more. That total is up nearly $2 million from the amount paid out in 2019.

It was a bright spot in a challenging year for the Lottery, which saw its offices closed to the public and Video Lottery terminals around the state shuttered twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there were some bright spots, with Scratch-it sales staying strong throughout 2020. In fact, Scratch-it sales were up more than 30 percent over the same time in 2019.

In May, Huguenot, from Beaverton, won the top prize of $50,000 playing the $5 Wild 10s Scratch-it.

Huguenot was one of the more than 2,000 winners the Oregon Lottery has paid from Jan. 1 to Dec. 3. Overall, the Oregon Lottery paid out more than $197 million in prizes during that time. The Oregon Lottery pays out prizes of $600 or more with games, like Keno, Powerball, Mega Millions and Megabucks, and prizes of more than $1,250 from Video Lottery terminals.

 It was also a good year for players of the Oregon Lottery’s new sports betting app, Scoreboard. Over the course of 2020, 1.9 million winning bets were placed, winning a combined $88,145,022. The average winning bet was for $45.27.  In addition, players have had 28,933 winning parlays of five bets or more, winning a combined $3.9 million on those winning wagers.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veterans services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org

More than 600,000 Pacific Power customers in Oregon will see welcome relief when
their electric bills go down an average of approximately 5.2 percent in January 2021.

The rate reduction is the result of decisions issued Dec. 18 and Oct. 30 by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission following a rigorous regulatory review of the company’s applications filed earlier in the year. In addition to lower energy bills, customers will benefit from cleaner energy and a more resilient energy grid as they usher in a new
year.

In the last three years alone, the company has made historic, forward-thinking, multi-billion dollar investments in renewable energy and grid upgrades that significantly increase the amount of low-cost renewable energy resources that serve customers. These long-term investments are contributing to immediate rate reductions and
decarbonization that are projected to save customers several hundred million dollars over the life of the investments. More than half of the 2021 rate decrease is the result of lower fuel costs and increases in federal production tax credits that result from the company’s new renewable energy investments. Pacific Power provides safe and reliable electric service to more than 773,000 customers in 243 communities across Oregon, Washington and California. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, serving nearly two million customers in six western states.

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