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Oregon Officials Estimate Social Distancing Effects; Transit Reduced

UPDATE (March 27, 8:54 p.m. PT) – Oregon has 415 known cases of the novel coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, according to state and local health officials.

The actual number of cases is believed to be higher given the lack of tests available.

The state has 12 known deaths related to the virus.

Oregon’s 12th coronavirus-related death is an 82-year-old woman in Marion County who had underlying health conditions, according to OHA.

Josephine County also reported an additional positive coronavirus case Friday.

Washington cases

Clark County Public Health said Friday that 28 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus and a sixth person has died.

The total number of confirmed cases in the county is now 76.

Washington has 3,700 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus and 175 related deaths as of Friday afternoon, according to the Washington Department of Health.

Oregon health officials estimate social distancing effects

Oregon public health officials Thursday laid out new estimates for how social distancing measures could improve the state’s chances of not overwhelming hospitals.

The modeling, formulated by the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Washington, is an approximation of what could happen, with large ranges in its predicted outcomes.

It suggests:

If Oregon were to go back to normal, lifting all social distancing measures that have been put into place since March 11, the state would expect to see between 6,000 and 26,000 cumulative infections by May 8. More than 1,000 hospital beds statewide would be occupied by COVID-19 patients.

If Oregon stayed with the incremental social distancing measures in place before the governor issued the stay-at-home order, the state would see between 2,000 and 12,000 cumulative infections by May 8, with 340 beds needed.

If Oregonians obey the stay-home order Brown issued Monday, the state could see between 700 and 3,800 cumulative infections by May 8, with “minimal people needing care in the hospital,” according to Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority.

Final paychecks to workers owed in full

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) sent out a reminder Friday that amid business closures and layoffs, employees are still owed their wages.

“If you are laid off, you must receive all of the wages you have earned by your next regularly scheduled payday after layoff,” the bureau said in a statement. “If your employer has a policy of paying out vacation time, you must receive it in full at that time as well.”

BOLI said employees who believe they have not been paid in full should keep documents such as pay stubs and work schedules and can make a claim online or email whdscreener@boli.state.or.us.

“I want to be clear: this is not a moment for employers to take advantage of workers or violate civil rights,” Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle said in a statement. “Using a crisis to harm employees is unacceptable and I will use the full weight of my office to prevent and remedy those efforts.” 

Workers can get up to $10,000 back in unpaid wages, BOLI said.

Man charged for trying to infect Bend police officer

According to the county prosecutor's office, 35-year-old Bend resident Daniel Ray Stubblefield attempted to cough, spit and breathe on an officer who tried to arrest him after he was reported as an unwanted person at a residence. He also had outstanding warrants.

"On the drive to the jail, it is alleged that Stubblefield told the officer that he had COVID-19 and then began spitting and breathing on the officer. The officer stopped the car, exited, and waited for back-up officers to arrive," the Deschutes County district attorney's office stated in a press release.

Police put Stubblefield in a restraint device and a "spit mask" before he was taken to the county jail. He was then transported to the St. Charles Hospital before being returned to the jail.

"If anyone in our community takes a shot at infecting, and thus potentially killing, one of our front line heroes, I will use the full authority granted to me by the people of Oregon to hold them accountable," District Attorney John Hummel said in a statement.

Stubblefield faces a charge of aggravated harassment, two counts of attempted assault on a police officer and one count each of menacing and recklessly endangering another person. His next court date is March 30. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival delays season, lays off staff

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) announced Friday it will delay its season until Sept. 8, due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. It also said it will lay off approximately 80% of its full-time staff as well as artists and seasonal workers.

“The resulting delay in the reopening of our 2020 season has very real financial consequences not only for this organization and our family of staff, artists and volunteers, but for the city of Ashland, its restaurants, hotels, retail and other businesses, and the entire Rogue Valley region,” Nataki Garrett, OSF’s artistic director, said in a statement.

Transit agencies reducing service

TriMet, the Portland area's regional transportation agency, is reducing service starting April 5.

"This is a painful-but-necessary adjustment that will help us quickly bounce back when this public health crisis passes," TriMet said in a release.

See a full list of service reductions on the TriMet website.

Southwest Washington’s regional transportation agency C-TRAN is reducing its express service starting Monday.

C-TRAN said the number of daily trips and buses on affected routes will be reduced. One route, Route 177, will be temporarily suspended. 

It said Route 190, which serves Oregon Health & Science University hospital and other medical facilities on Marquam Hill, will not be affected. 

C-TRAN said the route reductions are due to a decline in ridership due to the coronavirus and related stay-at-home orders.

Deschutes brewery layoffs

“These layoffs are due to the unforeseen business circumstances we are facing in light of the national epidemic of the novel Coronavirus,” reads a letter to the Oregon Dislocated Worker Unit from the brewery’s HR manager Faye Gardner.

On Thursday, hundreds of Central Oregon business leaders and workers gathered virtually to hear grim data about the state’s overall job losses from the Oregon Employment Department.

“At this point, it looks like somewhere between 80% to 90% of all restaurant jobs have been laid off. The numbers for hotels are really similar,” regional economist Damon Runberg said.

<p>Deschutes Brewery and Public House in downtown Bend, Oregon, Friday, March 17, 2017.</p>
<p>Bradley W. Parks</p> /
<p>Deschutes Brewery and Public House in downtown Bend, Oregon, Friday, March 17, 2017.</p>
<p>Oregon Health Authority released its latest modeling March 26, 2020, giving Oregonians a sense of how many COVID-19 cases the state could see&nbsp;if&nbsp;various actions are taken.&nbsp;</p>
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<p>Oregon Health Authority released its latest modeling March 26, 2020, giving Oregonians a sense of how many COVID-19 cases the state could see&nbsp;if&nbsp;various actions are taken.&nbsp;</p>

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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