This story will be updated throughout the day
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Here is the latest information from April 6, 2020, in Oregon and Southwest Washington in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
Oregon reports 2 COVID-19 deaths, 64 new cases
The Oregon Health Authority said Monday it has confirmed two deaths and 64 new cases of the coronavirus.
The state death toll from the pandemic now stands at 29.
One of the casualties was a 93-year-old male in Washington County, who tested positive on March 30 and died April 4, at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. He had underlying medical conditions.
The other was a 70-year-old Marion county woman, who tested positive on April 1 and died April 2, in her home. She also had underlying medical conditions.
The 64 new cases are from the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (6), Columbia (2), Curry (2), Deschutes (1), Douglas (1), Jackson (6), Josephine (3), Klamath (3), Lane (2), Linn (1), Marion (11), Multnomah (10), Polk (2), Umatilla (1), Washington (12).
Wyden concerned about unemployment insurance
After the Department of Labor issued guidance to the states to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, Sen. Ron Wyden voiced his concerns with the guidelines:
“I’m deeply concerned that the Trump administration’s guidance to states on administering expanded unemployment insurance weakens the program in several areas. Most importantly, the guidance forces workers to wade through significant red tape to prove their eligibility, which will inevitably prevent workers from receiving assistance they desperately need and should qualify for.
“While I appreciate that Labor Department staff are working around the clock to implement the program, it’s critical that workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own don’t fall through the cracks. Congress intended for these workers to be covered. I am following up with Secretary Scalia to discuss these issues as soon as possible.”
Walden speaks out about elective surgeries
Rep. Greg Walden said rural hospitals in Oregon are having financial difficulties because elective procedures are currently on hold during the pandemic.
“One thing that I’m going to flag for you that I think is really critical, and that is our rural community hospitals are struggling financially right now in large part because the governor shut down any elective procedures. This is something we’re going to have to get our hands around because some of them are losing half their monthly revenue streams. The revenue that they used to get that would keep the doors open, they’re losing.”
“Part of the money that’s coming out to states such as Oregon with the FMAP increase – the Medicaid payment increase of 6 percent from the federal government – needs to be targeted and focused in on these rural hospital that literally are going broke right now.”
ODFW cancels outdoor ed events
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife canceled all of its outdoor education events through Mary 31 during the ongoing pandemic.
This includes hunter education, outdoor workshops ans family fishing events. Refunds will be processed automatically to anyone who has already paid.
Oregon prisoners, staff with coronavirus
As of Monday morning, only 2 Oregon prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. Those prisoners are in the Santiam Correction Institution, where one staff member also has the virus. Additionally, 2 staff members at the Oregon State Penitentiary have tested positive.
The Oregon DOC updates their COVID-19 Status web page with the latest information.
First Washington inmate tests positive for COVID-19
An inmate at a Washington state correctional facility has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Washington State Department of Corrections. This is the first confirmed case for an inmate at any Washington state correctional facility.
The inmate was housed at the Monroe Correctional Complex-Minimum Security Unit. He began showing symptoms and was taken to the hospital. He was tested on Sunday which came back came back positive later that night.
He is now in an isolation unit inside a single-person cell where he will begin his treatment.
Updates from April 5, 2020
Washington state sends 400+ ventilators to New York and others
Washington state governor Jay Inslee announced Sunday his state would be returning more than 400 ventilators it had received from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
The state recently purchased more than 750 ventilators, which are expected to arrive over the next several weeks.
“I spoke with the governor after conferring with the Washington State Hospital Association to determine what help Washington could offer other states,” said Vice Admiral (ret.) Raquel Bono, M.D., Director, Washington State COVID-19 Health System Response Management. “Thanks to the mitigation efforts the governor has put in place and the cooperation of Washingtonians, we have seen fewer infections in our communities than anticipated. Our current status allows us to help others who have a more immediate need.”
The move comes a day after Oregon Governor Kate Brown sent 140 ventilators to New York to help its COVID-19 crisis.
TriMet service changes go into effect
TriMet service schedule has been adjusted to reflect the drop in ridership and to promote safety across the tri-county area.
TriMet bus service changes
- 27 of TriMet’s 85 bus lines, or 32%, will maintain their current weekday service, or close to it.
- 58 of TriMet’s bus lines, or 68%, will see adjustments.
- The adjustments were roughly built off TriMet’s current Saturday service schedules, with modifications for lines that currently don’t have Saturday service or that don’t have early or late enough service on Saturdays to accommodate typical work schedules.
- No line will have more than an hour between buses.
- Bus lines with weekend service will run on Sunday schedules all weekend long.
- Buses on the two 24-hour lines – Line 20-Burnside/Stark and Line 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove – will temporarily not run overnight.
- Only one bus line – Line 272-PDX Night Bus – will be temporarily suspended. (This bus line runs in the overnight hours when MAX Red Line does not run. With airline travel down dramatically, we will stop running the bus line, but MAX service will continue.)
- Weekly bus service hours will be reduced by about 21%.
Max Light Rail service changes
- All MAX lines will continue to run their full routes.
- MAX trains on all lines will run every 15 minutes throughout the majority of the weekday. That means TriMet will suspend the added train service that normally runs during the morning and afternoon commutes Monday through Friday.
- MAX trains will run on Sunday schedules both Saturdays and Sundays.
- Weekly MAX service hours will be reduced by about 9%.
WES Commuter Rail service changes
- WES train service will continue to run during both the morning and afternoon weekday commutes.
- WES trains will run every 45 minutes, instead of every 30 minutes.
- WES trains will run as single vehicles and not two-car consist.
- Weekly WES service hours will be reduced by about 37%.
LIFT paratransit service changes
- LIFT paratransit service is an on-demand service. While TriMet is not making changes to the service, LIFT serves seniors and those with disabilities or health concerns that make it not possible to use our fixed route buses or trains. As many of those riders are in the high-risk group for COVID-19, ridership has dropped about 80% and those continuing to ride LIFT are doing so only for essential trips or to reach life-sustaining services.
Portland Streetcar service changes
- Portland Streetcar has altered its weekday service to run on weekend schedules, with streetcars running every 20 minutes instead of more often.
The agency said overall ridership dropped nearly 50% from the beginning of February to mid-March.
Cherriots to provide reduced service Tuesday
Salem Area Mass Transit District announced it will provide temporary service beginning Tuesday, but with significantly reduced operations.
Cherriots shut down services on March 30 because of staffing shortages, including seven employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The agency said it is asking people to continue to stay home and stay off the bus unless for the following essential trips:
- Medical appointments
- Picking up prescriptions
- Getting to and from work
- Critical grocery shopping
Cherriots advises riders to plan ahead, allow extra time for their trip, and frequently check for service alerts at Cherriots.org/alerts.