Regional COVID-19 updates: ‘Flattened curve’ in Oregon


Updates for Oregon and SW Washington for April 24, 2020

This story will be updated throughout the day

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Here is the latest information from April 24, 2020, in Oregon and Southwest Washington in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:

Oregon latest: 51 cases, 3 deaths, but flattened curve

Three more people died from COVID-19 and another 51 confirmed cases were reported, but a new modeling report shows a flattened curve in Oregon.

All 3 people who died had underlying medical conditions and were between the ages of 80 and 89. Two of them lived in Multnomah County while the other lived in Linn County. The overall total of deaths in Oregon now stands at 86.

The 51 cases were recorded in 6 counties, with 20 cases in Marion County.

A new modeling report released by the Oregon Health Authority showed a “flattened curve,” health officials said.

In a release, officials said “the efforts of Oregonians to stay home and practice physical distancing has helped prevent as many as 70,000 COVID-19 cases in Oregon.”

Without staying home and practicing social distancing, the epidemic would have doubled every week and by April 16 “the number of cumulative infections would have been about 80,000, including 2,000 hospitalizations. Hence, the interventions are estimated to have averted over 70,000 infections, including over 1,500 hospitalizations (450 instead of 2,000), by April 16th.”

But it’s not enough yet.

“Despite the very real hardships these sacrifices have cost Oregonians, we have to keep it up even as we move toward easing restrictions,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “We need to build on our success in limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

2 more die in Clark County

Washington state health officials reported a total of 12,977 cases and 723 deaths as of Thursday night. The number of cases increased from 321 to 327 in Clark County from Thursday to Friday and two more people died there, bringing the county’s death toll to 19. The number of cases in Cowlitz County jumped from 34 to 39 in Cowlitz County.

Brown responds to new CARES Act guidelines

Oregon Governor Kate Brown released the following statement after the U.S. Treasury Department issued new restrictions on how states can use funds from the federal CARES Act:

“Because of the sacrifices states have made to stem the spread of COVID-19, our economy and state revenues have taken a significant hit. It is a blatant disregard of the challenges states are facing and the reality of the economy for the U.S. Treasury to prohibit the use of CARES Act funds for state revenue shortfalls. Without this flexibility, cuts to vital state services during this public health crisis will result,” said Governor Brown.

“Oregon is among the states on the front lines taking the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Those steps have not been easy, and have required great sacrifices by Oregonians, but they are working. Our estimates show that in Oregon alone—through social distancing—we have prevented as many as 70,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,500 hospitalizations.

“I am deeply appreciative of the leadership Senators Wyden and Merkley have shown in fighting for federal resources for Oregon, and for our entire congressional delegation’s efforts in securing this essential relief. I will continue to advocate for changes to federal guidance that will allow states to use CARES Act funding to supplement lost revenue, or for additional funding sources that could be used in this way. Without these critical dollars, the state will be forced to make difficult budget cuts at a time when Oregonians need state services more than ever.”

Bird’s eye view of Portland’s empty streets

KOIN 6 News photojournalist Bill Cortez gives us a bird’s eye view of what streets and popular spots around Portland look like with so many people staying home.

Self-serve gas extended through May 9

Oregonians will still have the option to pump their own gas through May 9, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office said Friday.

generic gas pump_1523207445517.jpg.jpg

The temporary rule change was due to expire on Saturday.

Self-service at Oregon gas stations is not mandatory but provides flexibility for both station operators and customers. Attendants will keep sanitizing station equipment and fuel nozzles and help customers as needed.

OHSU designs ventilators with 3D printer

A team from Oregon Health and Science University has designed a way to make low-cost ventilators with 3D printers. Albert Chi, M.D., M.S.E., an OHSU trauma surgeon, is leading the team. He previously pioneered 3D-printed prosthetics for children.

“The goal is to provide it for free to whoever needs it,” said Chi.

The design does not require electricity, only oxygen. They can be made in as little as 3 hours, depending on the printer. The ventilators can be replicated anywhere in the world that has a medical-grade printer for less than $10 of material, according to OHSU.

Chi’s team filed for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday in order to get the green light to send the design across the country as soon as possible.

Oregon extends order for insurance deadlines

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services announced on Friday that it is further extending its emergency order on insurance deadlines due to the impact of the coronavirus.

According to the order, insurance companies must:

  • Institute a grace period for premium payments on all insurance policies issued in the state
  • Suspend all cancellations and nonrenewals for active insurance policies
  • Extend all deadlines for consumers to report claims and communicate about claims
  • Provide consumers the ability to make premium payments and report claims while maintaining safe social distancing standards

“Extending the emergency order ensures Oregonians can continue to get relief from these insurance policy terms and continue to focus on staying healthy and caring for their families,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner. 

New Seasons to require face coverings in all stores

New Seasons stores will soon require all customers to wear face coverings in all of their stores.

The announcement was made Friday that they would begin enforcing the policy on April 29. The store will be handing out free facial coverings during the first phase of the new policy, while supplies last.

“Our staff have already been wearing facial coverings, but we feel that the best way to protect our staff, customers, partners and community is to all wear a facial covering to help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, as recommended by the CDC,” the store said.

New COVID-19 drive-thru testing available in Beaverton

As Oregon works to catch up to other states in coronavirus testing, a drive-thru option is opening up on Friday.

The tests will be held at Southridge High School in Beaverton. Although it is drive-thru, you do still have to make an appointment.

 You must first get screened via telemedicine. After talking through your symptoms with a health professional, they will decide if you meet the criteria. The health professional will then give you a time to drive up and get tested.

This will be going on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.

10 workers test positive for virus at Albany’s National Frozen Foods plant

Ten employees at the National Frozen Foods plant in Albany have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by the Albany Democratic-Herald.

The Democratic-Herald also said that the first two cases were confirmed on April 16, meaning the virus spread to at least eight others within a week.

Washington attempts to spread out incoming unemployment claims

By next week, the total number of people filing for unemployment claims in Washington is expected to rise to 900,000 —  a number the state says it can’t prepare for.

The Employment Security Department released just how many people have filed for unemployment in Washington state. As April 18, it was more than 600,000. But over the next week, they say that total will rise to 900,000. That’s three times higher than the record set in 2008/2009.

The state really wants those most desperate to file their weekly claim on Sunday or Monday. If you can wait at all, they ask you file later in the week. They say spreading out the load on the system will make it faster for everyone.

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Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

Updates from April 23, 2020

Gov. Brown extends Oregon’s emergency child care order

Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order on Thursday to align the effective date of her emergency child care directives with other social distancing orders. Licensed child care centers are to remain closed unless they’re approved to provide Emergency Child Care by the Early Learning Division.

Emergency Child Care providers are required to prioritize child care for essential workers, limit the number of children to “stable” groups of 10 in a home or classroom and follow the state’s health and safety guidelines.

Neon rose updated, to shine each night

The iconic neon rose at the Rose Building in downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park is being updated and will illuminate the night sky beginning Friday night.

The original designer, Ramsay Signs, updated the rose “to offer a positive message to the community during uncertain times,” a release said. The structural support will be done Thursday with the new rose installed on Friday.

The rose can be seen from the Naito Parkway side and the river side and is meant to be a symbol of hope to the City of Roses.

An unpdated neon rose is installed at Waterfront Park in downtown Portland during the coronavirus pandemic as a symbol of hope, April 23, 2020 (KOIN)

Stay Home, Drink Beer festival

A fundraiser for the Oregon Brewers Guild — Stay Home, Drink Beer — is set for May 2. This virtual festival will feature brewers from across the state and encourages social distancing.

The digital entry for the virtual beer fest is $10 and includes access to 2 exclusive channels, a private Facebook group and a Zoom room. There is also an Oregon Beer Box raffle, with grand prize winners getting a mixed case of tasty Oregon brews.

Shop Oregon Craft Beer
Oregon Craft Beer — Beer to Go

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