© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Live Updates: Oregon tops 16,000 known coronavirus cases

<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 (1:05 p.m. PT) — COVID-19 has claimed nine more lives in Oregon, raising the death toll to 282, state health officials said Friday. Those nine deaths are the highest number of deaths reported in a single day in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, the Oregon Health Authority said.

OHA also reported 396 new confirmed or presumed COVID-19 diagnoses. Since the pandemic was first detected in Oregon, 16,104 people are known to have contracted the virus, though health officials say that number under-counts the virus’ full reach.

The agency also reported a new outbreak of 22 cases of COVID-19 at Norris Blueberry Farm in Douglas County. That case count includes not only workers, but household members and other close contacts to cases. Investigation into that outbreak began June 25, OHA said.

Washington passes 50,000 coronavirus diagnoses

Clark County, Washington, officials reported 27 new positive COVID-19 test results on Friday and no new deaths. That brings to 1,632 the number of people who are known to have had the coronavirus in Clark County, and 37 who have died from it.

The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health shows 50,009 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the state and 1,482 are known to have died of it. As of Wednesday night, COVID-19 has led to the hospitalization of 5,276 people in Washington.

Even Oregon's best-case forecast sees COVID infections rise

By the middle of August, about 1,600 Oregonians will contract COVID-19 per day and 27 will enter hospitals, if the current rate of transmission continues, according to an Oregon Health Authority model shared Thursday that seemed to underline Gov. Kate Brown's decision to tighten restrictions around the state.

The health agency updates its forecast for COVID-19 every other week, outlining possible scenarios for the virus' spread.

In its best-case scenario, with transmission of the virus decreasing by 10 percentage points from Thursday, new infections would be about 600 a day by Aug. 13, with 17 people entering hospitals per day.

The state's most pessimistic scenario imagines a 10 percentage point increase in transmission, which would lead to 2,300 daily infections by Aug. 13 and 46 people entering the hospital each day.

OHA said Friday, during a call with members of the media, that community spread fueled by social gatherings continues to be the main source of new cases.

“We see evidence now that July Fourth celebrations helped fuel our most recent cases,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said Friday. “Sporadic cases, cases that don’t have a clear link to any other infection, account for a higher percentage of cases each week.”

Allen also said the agency is seeing more cases diagnosed among younger people.

“People ages 20 to 29 now account for the highest percentage of diagnosed infections, at 22%,” Allen said. 

He said the agency has still seen no evidence of any outbreaks related to protests.


New coronavirus restrictions announced for Oregon, Washington

The governors of Oregon and Washington are imposing new coronavirus-related restrictions across as diagnoses continue to climb in both states. 

Effective Friday in Oregon: 

The statewide face-mask policy now applies to all children ages 5 and older. Previously, the rule was voluntary for children between the ages of 3 and 12. These requirements will also apply at schools.

Indoor venues, including churches and businesses, are limited to no more than 100 people at a time, down from 250.

All bars and restaurants statewide must now close by 10 p.m.; previously they had been allowed to stay open until midnight in some counties. 

People must wear face coverings while exercising at gyms or other fitness centers.

In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee also announced further restrictions slated to begin in stages over the next few weeks. 

An expanded statewide face covering order goes into effect Saturday. People will be required to wear face coverings in all common spaces, including elevators, hallways, and in shared spaces in apartment buildings, hotels and group-housing settings such as nursing homes.

The following Washington-specific restrictions begin Thursday, July 30:

Indoor restaurant dining will be limited to members of the same household. Outside dining will remain available for small parties from different households. 

At dine-in restaurants in communities in reopening Phase 3, tables will be limited to seating to five people, and restaurant occupancy will be reduced from 75% of regular capacity to 50%.

Bars will be closed for indoor service, but they can continue outdoor service. 

Alcohol service inside restaurants must end by 10 p.m.

Restaurants must close gaming and social areas like pool tables and dart boards. 

In communities at Phase 2 of reopening, only five people will be allowed to attend indoor fitness classes at a time, not including staff. Likewise, only five people at a time will be allowed at staffed indoor spaces like pools, ice rinks and tennis facilities.

In Phase 3 of reopening, fitness center classes will be limited to 10 people, not including instructors. Gym occupancy will be reduced to 25% of standard occupancy. 

Starting Aug. 6 in Washington:

Weddings and funerals will be limited in size to either 20% of a venue’s capacity or 30 people, whichever is less.

Although wedding ceremonies will remain permitted, receptions will be prohibited. 

Inslee also extended the state’s eviction moratorium to Oct. 15.

Freedom Foundation challenges Oregon's latest mask order

A conservative nonprofit group is trying to get an Oregon court to throw out Gov. Kate Brown’s order requiring people in the state to wear face masks in indoor public places and outside when social distancing isn’t possible.

The Freedom Foundation said the governor and the Oregon Health Authority acted too hastily in issuing the mask order to combat the spread of COVID-19, and it also questioned whether the mandate infringed on constitutional rights.

A Freedom Foundation official said he was not arguing against the use of face masks. But he said the governor should take the time to give public comment on proposed mask rules and should take into account the legitimate concerns some people have to wearing masks.

Read more: Oregon lawsuit seeks to toss Gov. Kate Brown's face-mask mandate

Southwest Washington educators ask to cancel in-person classes this fall

A coalition of teachers unions and civil rights organizations in Southwest Washington is calling for students to keep attending school from home this fall.

In a letter released Tuesday, unions representing more than 6,000 staff at school districts in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver and elsewhere said returning to classes as COVID-19 cases surge would be unsafe. 

The statement denounced the politicization of the pandemic, saying some parents resist a requirement for masks to be worn at school. It also dismissed recent remarks that local public schools have good ventilation to keep students and staff safe.

“In Washington state, we can and must do better,” the letter said.

Cases of coronavirus have surged in every county in Southwest Washington since the start of summer. In Clark County, the most populous in the region, cases have nearly doubled since June 29.

Read more: Teachers unions in SW Washington call for classes to remain online in fall

What will it take to make child care safe? 

In a statement officially releasing the guidance Thursday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown likened the guidance to the evolving advice given to public school leaders as they wrestle with how to support children’s education without fueling spread of coronavirus.

“Much like K-12 schools, we know that our early childhood programs won’t look the same this fall. But, one thing is clear: We know that kids need safe, caring, quality environments while their parents are at work,” Brown said in a written statement. 

Read more: New Oregon draft child care guidance aims to clarify safe conditions during COVID-19

Portland allocates federal pandemic relief funds

Portland will soon begin distributing a pot of $114 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to provide support for renters, small businesses and other sectors hit hardest by the financial fallout of the pandemic.

The final distribution, approved by the rest of the council, puts $32 million toward rent assistance, mortgage counseling to help Portlanders avoid foreclosure and direct cash assistance. Another $15 million will go toward grant programs that support small businesses. 

Read more: Portland approves distribution of $114 million In CARES Act funds

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong death date for one of Oregon's recent COVID-19 deaths. OPB regrets the error. 

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Courtney Sherwood, OPB Staff