This story will be updated throughout the day
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Here is the latest information from April 8, 2020, in Oregon and Southwest Washington in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
Fort Vancouver fireworks show canceled
What would have been the 57th annual Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular on July 4th at Fort Vancouver has been canceled, the Historic Trust announced Wednesday. The organization said it made the decision to ensure the safety and health of the community.
Oregon sees 58 new cases
Another 5 people died from COVID-19 in Oregon with another 58 cases confirmed in the state, health officials said Wednesday afternoon.
Of the 58 cases, almost half (28) were in Multnomah County. Confirmed cases were reported in 10 other counties, as well, with Washington County reporting 13.
The 5 people who died all had underlying medical conditions. They were between the ages of 75 and 94, with three of them from Multnomah County and two from Yamhill County. One of them died April 1, the others died on April 6 or April 7.
Clark County updates overall numbers
As of 11 a.m. on April 8. a total of 190 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Clark County, with 13 deaths reported. They noted, “The number of positive tests and deaths included in this table may differ from numbers on the Washington State Department of Health website. Public Health data is the most up-to-date on positive tests and deaths.”
Multnomah Athletic Club lays off 600
The Multnomah Athletic Club, which has already shut down during the pandemic, announced Wednesday they’re laying off 600 people.
“This was an agonizing decision, as MAC staff are an integral part of what makes our community so special. Employees will receive pay through April 25,” William Lee and Charles Leverton said in a release. “They will be eligible for unemployment benefits starting April 26. This means employees will have received a total of six weeks of pay and benefits during the full duration of the club’s closure.”
About 75 people remain to manage and maintain the building and provide other services to members. Lee and Leverton added they “intend to recall as many staff as possible when normal club operations resume.”
TriMet adds fogging machines to cleaning routine
Nine portable decontamination devices have been added to TriMet’s disinfecting procedures on buses.
The fogging machines–about the size of a cooler–spray a mist of hydrogen peroxide-based solution throughout the bus’s interior. Between spraying the vehicles and letting the solution sit, the process takes about three hours per bus.
The agency said the machines will not replace cleaning done by hand. A cleaning staff continues to spray and wipe down buses and MAX trains with disinfectant nightly.
“In addition to this nightly work, we’re also wiping down areas people touch at stations and transit centers, including Hop validators, pay phones, ticket vending machines, elevator doors and buttons,” TriMet said in a release.
TriMet began a stint of reduced schedules and other temporary changes to service this week.
PPB temporarily suspends tow releases and fees
The Portland Police Bureau announced it will temporarily suspend the practice of requiring vehicle owners to obtain a release by PPB prior to obtaining heir vehicle from tow companies.
PBB said it will also temporarily suspend the $150 administrative fee that is collected when the agency tows a vehicle.
The temporary suspension will remain in effect until Governor Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order is lifted.
Tow companies may still charge fees for towing and storage. Additionally, the temporarily suspension does not apply to vehicles that have been towed for other reasons and unrelated to PPB.
Brown urges Portlanders to enjoy nice weather from home
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Oregon Governor Brown warned residents of Portland to resist the urge of venturing out to enjoy the coming beautiful weather while social distancing measures are still in effect.
On March 23, Brown issued Executive Order 20-12 which significantly tighten social distancing guidelines. The move came after crowds flocked to coastal communities.
Cherriots requires riders to wear masks
Salem-area commuters will need to begin wearing masks or facial coverings when riding on Cherriots buses. The new order by the agency begins April 10 but riders are encouraged to begin the practice immediately.
Transit operators and all other Cherriots employees will be required to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth as well.
Other actions taken by Cherriots to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, include:
- Provide drivers with gloves, hand-sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, masks, and face shields.
- Employee Cleaning Teams are sanitizing vehicles during layovers at transit centers.
- All vehicles in use are sanitized daily, including rails, stanchions, doors, grab handles, and wheel wells. The operator dash panels, steering wheel, and other touch points are being sanitized.
- Twice daily, all buildings touch points such as door knobs, restrooms, fixtures, telephones, and chairs are being sanitized. TB Quat, which is a disinfectant that complies with OSHA’s blood borne pathogen standard for disinfecting surfaces soiled with potentially infectious fluids, is added to mop water to sanitize floors.
- Vehicles and buildings were deep cleaned this past weekend.
- Shelter benches and touch points are being sanitized when facilities services workers stop to perform maintenance and cleaning.
- Cherriots is enforcing a rear-door boarding and exiting only policy to put space between operators and riders.
- At transit centers, spaces have been marked six feet apart where riders can stand while waiting for their bus.
- Seating on buses is limited. Bus interiors have been measured and available seats are spaced for social distancing.
- Cherriots closed the Customer Service lobby and windows. Staff members are available by telephone at 503-588-2877, by email at email@example.com, and on social media channels. The Keizer Transit Center lobby is also closed.
- The Administrative Offices and Del Webb Operations Center are closed to visitors. Staff members are available by email and telephone.
- Staff who are working in District buildings are limited. Some tables and seating had been removed from the driver break rooms and placed in more spacious areas to allow for social distancing.
Updates from April 7, 2020
Pot sales skyrocket in Oregon
People are getting high during the pandemic.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said nearly $85 million in cannabis was sold in the month of March — a record since recreational pot became legal in the state in 2015.
People may have been stocking up. The agency said sales dropped slightly in the last couple weeks. Alcohol sales were up 17% compared to March 2019. That might change as closed bars and restaurants send their product back to the state.
TriMet adds decontamination devices
TriMet is still providing transit services to the public, though with some changes including limits on the number of riders on buses and temporary service reductions. To help maintain public health, TriMet has started using portable decontamination devices. The devices spray a fine mist of a hydrogen peroxide-based solution throughout the interior of a bus. Each bus will go through the sanitization routine (which takes about 3 hours) every night.
Wyden blasts Trump
After President Trump removed Glenn Fine as the Acting Inspector General of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden blasted the move.
“Donald Trump will stop at nothing to obstruct oversight and install his yes-men in these key positions. Donald Trump is clearly executing a systematic purge of inspectors general who have done their jobs and refused to bend to political pressures. Every Republican who voted against removing the president paved the way for these authoritarian moves.”
Nike releasing custom PPE for OHSU
Nike has created custom personal protection equipment for frontline healthcare workers.
The company said Tuesday its innovation, manufacturing and product teams have partnered with officials at Oregon Health & Science University to produce full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator lenses.
A first shipment of full-face shields and PAPR lenses was sent to OHSU on Friday, April 3.
“Without proper facial protection, healthcare workers are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, which could place substantial strain on the healthcare workforce in the months ahead,” said Miko Enomoto, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine. “The full-face shields help protect healthcare workers’ faces and also help to prolong the length we can safely use a surgical or N95 mask. Nike’s generous response to the COVID-19 crisis helps to instill an added layer of confidence and support for healthcare workers, that we can safely carry out the jobs we were born to do.”
The new PPE will be soon be provided to health systems in Nike’s World Headquarters region, including Providence, Legacy Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente, and others across the state of Oregon.
Brown issues statement on homemade masks
Tuesday morning, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a statement regarding the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that everyone wear a non-medical, cloth face covering in public.
“This is a rapidly-evolving situation, and each day we learn more about this virus,” said Brown. “Early in this pandemic, health experts advised that masks were not an effective way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now, the CDC has updated their guidance regarding the use of cloth, homemade masks in public: they now say that wearing cloth masks in public places like grocery stores can help prevent those who are sick –– particularly unknowingly infected, asymptomatic people –– from spreading the virus further.”
She also highlighted the need to continuing social distancing and following her “Stay Home” order.
“Like every other strategy we have used to address this crisis, wearing homemade masks will only be effective if we all work together. Continue to stay home to the maximum extent possible, and add wearing a homemade mask to the list of precautions you are practicing when you go out in public. Make sure you are still abiding by all the social distancing measures we have in place.”
Brown urged those seeking masks to please only wear homemade ones, not medical masks that are needed by frontline health care workers treating COVID-19 patients.
Follow KOIN 6 for the latest news and weather