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Known Oregon Coronavirus Cases At More Than 700, Washington Reports More Deaths

<p>There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.</p>

There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

UPDATE (6:58 p.m. PT) – Oregon state and local health officials reported 47 new known cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 736.

The Oregon Health Authority also announced one new death related to the virus Wednesday — a 70-year-old woman in Multnomah County who had underlying medical conditions.

The state now has 19 known deaths from the virus.

A case originally reported as a Hood River County resident Tuesday was determined to be a Washington state case, which reduced the total numbers of cases, the Oregon Health Authority said.

Washington reports more deaths

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Clark County is 130 and six people are known to have died with COVID-19, according to public health officials. Clark County Public Health announced 14 new cases Wednesday.

Technical difficulties had kept the state health department from updating its official statewide totals. A release from the Washington State Department of Health says the number of negative COVID-19 tests has overwhelmed its data tracking tool, preventing it from releasing new numbers.

On Wednesday, Washington posted numbers current as of March 31, reporting 5,984 positive test results and 247 deaths, which is a fatality rate of 4.1%.

Oregon State Penitentiary employee tests positive for coronavirus

The Oregon Department of Corrections Wednesday announced an employee at the Oregon State Penitentiary has tested positive for the new coronavirus

The department has not released the employee’s job role, gender, age or any other identifying information due to privacy concerns. 

ODOC said it has notified employees who have come in close contact with the person.

Hillsboro Amazon warehouse employee diagnosed with coronavirus

An employee at the Hillsboro Amazon warehouse has tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to the company.

“We are supporting the individual who is recovering,” Timothy Carter, a spokesperson with Amazon, said in a statement. “We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”

Carter said all employees at the warehouse have been notified about the confirmed case, and people who have had close contact with the person will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

He said all Amazon employees diagnosed with coronavirus or those asked to quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay.

Amazon has also implemented increased cleaning of all of its sites and social distancing practices, Carter said.

Vancouver creates ‘Safe Parking Zone’

The city of Vancouver Wednesday announced the designation of a temporary Safe Parking Zone to allow people living in their cars to comply with social distancing measures.

The zone is located in the southwest portion of the Vancouver Mall parking lot. It will have restroom facilities, hand washing stations and garbage service.

The city said the spaces are available for free, on a first-come, first-served basis. People can register in person for a spot on-site from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday and Friday.

The Safe Parking Zone is limited to 40 vehicles, including a maximum of two RVs. All vehicles must be operational and legally licensed at the time of registration, the city said. 

There is also a limit of two adults per vehicle. Children under 18 years old are welcome with an adult. Pets are allowed.

Fred Meyer gives employees $2 per hour ‘hero bonus’

Kroger, the company that owns Fred Meyer, announced Tuesday that it will provide a temporary $2 pay increase to hourly workers, including grocery, supply chain, pharmacy and call center employees. 

The increase will be applied to hours worked March 29 through April 18. 

Kroger, on March 21, also announced it will provide a one-time bonus to hourly employees — $300 for full-time employees and $150 for people working part-time. 

“This gesture was to thank our associates for everything they have done during the past few weeks,” Sara Parker, Fred Meyer’s human resources director, said of the one-time bonus in a statement. “However, we recognize that this crisis is far from over, and after reflecting on associate feedback, we want to further acknowledge our terrific team for their hard work to date as well as the work yet to come.”

Other companies including Whole Foods and Amazon have also implemented a $2 per hour temporary pay increase for employees.

Employees at other grocery store companies in the region, such as Zupan’s, are urging for similar hazard pay increases.

According to an email sent to employees from Zupan’s owner, Mike Zupan, he said that hazard pay is “not a viable option for our business.”

Employees have instead been offered Zupan’s gift cards and an extra 10% employee discount through the end of April instead of pay increases.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Meerah Powell
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