Regional COVID-19 updates: Regence Health Plans to cover cost of coronavirus treatment


Updates for Friday, April 3, 2020 for Oregon and SW Washington

This story will be updated throughout the day

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Here is the latest information from April 3, 2020, in Oregon and Southwest Washington in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:

Regence Health Plans to cover cost of coronavirus treatment at no cost to members

Regence announced Friday that it will cover treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19) without any out-of-pocket costs for fully insured members through June 30, 2020. Read more here.

Case at Washington County Sheriff’s Office

A member of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, the office said. Coworkers who may have been exposed are taking the necessary precautions and the risk of exposure to members of the public is very low, deputies said. The employee who tested positive is in self-quarantine and won’t return to work until being cleared by a doctor.

Oregon numbers as of 8 a.m.

The coronavirus claimed one more life in Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority said. A 71-year-old man in Polk County who tested positive on March 19 passed away on Thursday at Salem Hospital. OHA said he had underlying health conditions. The state’s death toll is now 22.

OHA also reported 73 new cases of COVID-19 in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (5), Clatsop (1), Crook (1), Deschutes (4), Klamath (5), Malheur (1), Marion (14), Morrow (1), Multnomah (15), Polk (2), Washington (17), Yamhill (5). The statewide case total is now 899.

Washington state lands

Washington has extended the closure of its state lands to the public through May 4 to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. The extension applies to all camping on state lands, boat launches and water access sites, wildlife areas and day-use recreation areas.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to issue an update on fishing and hunting on Monday.

Hillsboro launches Food 2 You pantry delivery

A new food pantry delivery program will launch Tuesday in a partnership with the City of Hillsboro, St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army.

The program will take requests and deliver food two days each week.

To make a request, call 503.681.5090 between noon and 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Orders will be delivered the next day. Food is left at the door but someone must be there to receive it.

Recipients must live in Hillsboro. The Food 2 You program helps those who are unable to get to a food pantry due to COVID-19 concerns.

Corbett Fire makes changes

Some procedures were adjusted by the Corbett Fire District as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Going forward, all first responders will wear full PPE as they approach potential patients. Most times, only one first responder will enter a home to assess the situation. Also, volunteers will take online health classes instead of meeting on Monday nights. The Corbett Fire Hall is not longer available for public meetings until further notice.

CJ steps up

Blazers star CJ McCollum will match up to $70,000 in donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Portland Metropolitan area.

McCollum has been a big supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs and decided to do this during these unsettling and uncertain times.

Donations can be made through

CJ McCollum holds his annual holiday event at Big Als on December 17, 2019. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

Spirit Mountain stays closed

Spirit Mountain Casino remains closed until further notice during the pandemic, but the Grand Ronde Tribal Council and Spirit Mountain Gaming are using this time to renovate.

“We’re continuing our remodel of the Lodge, re-vamping our menus, and looking forward to welcoming our guests when the COVID-19 crisis is behind us,” said Spirit Mountain Casino Manager Stan Dillon in a statement.

Pacific Power offers support

The Pacific Power Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Pacific Power, is donating $250,000 for support to organizations in Oregon, Washington and California amid the coronavirus crisis.

Those organizations include the Oregon Food Bank, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, Oregon Community Foundation, Portland Rescue Mission, Oregon Energy Fund, Salvation Army divisions in California and Washington and the Northwest Community Action Center.

“Food banks and other critical organizations serve the most vulnerable populations in our communities and are under tremendous strain,” said Stefan Bird, President and CEO of the Pacific Power Foundation. “The Pacific Power Foundation is committed to supporting vital community organizations that depend and survive on contributions like this.” 

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus
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Previous updates from April 2, 2020

Oregon numbers

The coronavirus claimed two more lives in Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority said. The state’s death toll is now 21.

OHA also reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (5), Deschutes (5), Hood River (1), Jackson (5), Josephine (2), Klamath (3), Lane (3), Lincoln (1), Marion (13), Union (2), Multnomah (26), Washington (22), and Yamhill (1). The statewide total is now 826.

Marion County officials test positive

A member of the Silverton Police Department tested positive for COVID-19 and has not been at work since March 27, the City of Silverton said. Since City Hall has been closed to the public since March 18, officials said the person had limited contact with members of the community.

Two staff members at the Marion County Jail tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30, according to Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Oregon state prison inmate

An adult at Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, the Oregon Department of Corrections said. The person was in stable condition and being treated on site before being moved to a facility with 24-hour nursing care. This marks the first person in the Oregon DOC system to test positive, officials said.

The DOC said anyone showing signs and symptoms of the flu or COVID-19 will be tested for the coronavirus and placed in “respiratory isolation.”

Washington numbers as of April 1

As of 11:59 p.m. on April 1, the Washington Department of Health reported a statewide total of 262 deaths and 6,585 cases. There are eight deaths and 131 cases in Clark County.

New testing devices

Oregon will receive 15 new rapid COVID-19 devices to run so-called “Abbot ID NOW” tests, according to the Oregon COVID-19 Joint Information Center. The devices were recently approved by the FDA and can detect positive results in just five minutes. OHA is working to figure out where to send the devices based on testing priorities. It’s unclear when the state will receive the devices.

Multifamily NW

In a letter to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Multifamily NW addressed the Portland City Council’s request for rent and mortgage payment suspension, calling the proposal “dangerous to our community in the near term.”

Multifamily NW said the request would “result in a cascading series of events threatening our basic economic structures” and instead appealed for the state to employ different tactics: temporarily expanding the Rental Assistance Vouchers program.

Oregon unemployment numbers continue to skyrocket

Oregon’s initial claims for unemployment benefits have continued to skyrocket, shattering previous records in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

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The Oregon Employment Department received 92,700 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits for the week of March 22. That’s a 21% increase from the previous record — which was set during the week of March 15 when they saw 76,500 claims. OED received 4,900 initial claim filings during the week of March 8. 

Notably, the greatest number of those initial claims for unemployment benefits came from those in the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants. That number comes in at a hefty 15,500 claims.

Sherwood utility relief program announced

The City of Sherwood Utility Billing Department announced that qualifying residents affected by COVID-19 can receive a one-time utility credit in the amount of $58.99 on their next bill. Residents will need to fill out an online application in order to receive the credit. The application asks residents to answer a few questions on how they have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Find the online application here and more information here. If customers do not have internet access, they may directly contact the Utility Billing Department at 503.925.2315.

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