This story will be updated throughout the day
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Here is the latest information from April 9, 2020, in Oregon and Southwest Washington in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
Washington state numbers
As of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, there were 9,608 cases of the coronavirus in Washington state and 446 deaths, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Clark County has reported 194 cases and 14 deaths; Cowlitz County has reported 21 cases and no deaths.
Emergency SNAP benefits
Oregon will provide an additional $60 million in extra SNAP benefits during the months of April and May, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services. Households eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will automatically receive the additional allotment in the same way they normally receive benefits.
6 more deaths in Oregon
Another six people have died from COVID-19 in Oregon, health officials said Thursday afternoon. The deaths include a 74-year-old man in Linn County, a 97-year-old man in Linn County, an 87-year-old woman in Multnomah County, a 41-year-old woman in Multnomah County, a 66-year-old man in Multnomah County and a 74-year-old man in Benton County—all of them had underlying medical conditions.
The state’s death toll is now 44 and the total number of cases has reached 1,321.
The Oregon Health Authority said a previously reported Wallowa County case was identified as a resident of Washington, reducing the Wallowa County case total by one. OHA reported 83 new cases since Wednesday in the following counties: Clackamas (6), Columbia (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (5), Jackson (4), Klamath (1), Lane (2), Linn (3), Marion (17), Morrow (2), Multnomah (16), Polk (1), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (3), Washington (16), and Yamhill (4).
Long line of cars, people at Franklin High
Cars were lined up for several blocks at roads feeding into Franklin High School shortly before noon Thursday some to get their Chromebooks, some to get their free lunch. A line of people — some entire families together — looked to be in a waiting line more than an hour long.
At least 5 PPB vehicles were in the area to help direct the flow.
Economists discuss local revenue impact
Oregon economists are looking at the data to see how the pandemic is impacting local funds and revenue.
They’ve found COVID-19 is hitting low wage jobs the hardest, mostly because of the mandated closures of restaurants, bars, retail and hotels. But, local economists are now seeing Oregon manufacturers laying off employees — not because they’re mandated to, but because their supply chains are disrupted.
Economists say Oregon’s unemployment rate has reached 9%, which puts a serious strain on the unemployment insurance funds.
”The state of Oregon’s unemployment program was the second-best funded in the country,” said economist Jeff Renfro. “Every single on of them is going to need help from the federal government.”
The federal CARES Act money is starting to come in and help stimulate the economy and mitigate impacts, but economists say the severity of a recession here depends on how long these closures last and how we fight the pandemic.
Wheeler hosts Twitter Q&A
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says he’ll answer your questions today on twitter.
Wheeler is hosting a Q & A this afternoon to give updates on Portland’s coronavirus response. The mayor says you can ask questions using the hashtag “#AskMayorWheeler.”
Oregon, Washington unemployment numbers continue to rise
Continuing the record-breaking pattern its seen over the last three weeks, the Oregon Employment Department received 100,700 initial claims for the week of March 29, alone.
Washington’s Employment Security Department saw 170,063 initial claims filed during that same week.
As Oregonians lose their jobs at an alarming rate due to COVID-19, the claims for benefits have skyrocketed and show no signs of slowing down. Over the last three weeks, the OED received 269,900 initial claims for unemployment benefits.
These numbers have shattered previous unemployment records. During the Great Recession, net job losses in Oregon totaled 147,800. The department has also processed more claims in this first quarter of 2020 than in the entirety of 2019.
Oregon State University postpones commencement ceremonies
In the midst of the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, Oregon State University has officially postponed its 2020 commencement ceremonies.
The university made the announcement on Thursday morning that it is postponing commencement ceremonies in Corvallis and at OSU-Cascades in Bend until a later date. They say the ceremonies could possibly take place in the fall.
This decision was reached after a survey went out to students, asking for their thoughts on how to handle the upcoming graduation. The university said there was overwhelming support for postponement.
Legacy Health ramps up COVID-19 testing
Legacy Health has expanded their COVID-19 testing capacity, now being able to run more than 650 tests per day. A virtual visit through Legacy Medical Group or Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care will determine whether a patient needs to be tested, based on CDC guidelines.
Those patients can then be tested through Legacy Medical Group clinics, Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care centers and Legacy Health medical centers.
Updates from April 8, 2020
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.