Oregon COVID Toll At 75, Gov. Brown Sending PPE To Long-term Care Facilities
UPDATE (7:15 p.m. PT) —Oregon state and local health officials reported 47 new coronavirus diagnoses Monday afternoon. That brings Oregon’s confirmed cases to 1,956. Oregon officials also reported one new coronavirus-related death Monday.
75 people in Oregon are known to have died of COVID-19.
Health officials say difficult to determine when stay-at-home will end
Last week, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced that West Coast governors would work together on a plan to lift stay-at-home orders and allow businesses to reopen when public health trends suggest they can.
The tri-county area’s lead health officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said Monday that the time frame for reopening Oregon is still difficult to determine.
“To my knowledge there are no treatments that have emerged as effective to date, and we are relying on the development and skill of a vaccine, which is just going to take time,” Vines told OPB’s Think Out Loud.
“So while I can’t predict exactly how the next months [or] two years are going to go, I think COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while.”
The Oregon Health Authority has the capacity to test at a rate of 91-hundred tests a week, with the goal to conduct 15-thousand tests per week in the near future.
OHA is meeting with the governor and her panel of medical advisors this week. They intend to hire 600 people around the state to help conduct contact tracing to identify more cases.
While people stay home and the “curve” continues to bend downward, OHA director Patrick Allen said that reopening the state too soon could lead to coronavirus cases returning.
“What I really fear is being in sort of a halfway place — where maybe we as people in public health and governors backed off these restrictions, but we did it too soon and the disease rebounded,” Allen said.
Allen said it was too early to determine if K-12 schools would open for in-person instruction in the fall.
Gov. Brown sending PPE to Oregon long-term care homes
Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday she is tapping Oregon's stockpile of personal protective equipment to send to about 850 of the state’s long-term care facilities.
The Oregon National Guard started Saturday distributing about 395,000 masks, gloves and face shields to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Across the nation, long-term care facilities have been hit hard as the novel coronavirus rips through facilities where some of the most vulnerable people live. In Oregon, 14 people have died from coronavirus at a single nursing home in Southeast Portland, where staff told state officials they did not have enough protective gear. Employees were given one face mask per shift and there weren’t any replacements.
Brown said in a statement the staff at Oregon’s long-term facilities are “on the front lines of our fight against COVID-19.”
The PPE being shipped to the state’s facilities includes approximately 177,000 surgical masks, 127,000 gloves, 55,000 N-95 masks, 33,000 face shields and 2,500 gowns.
Mobile health team launched to assist Salem patients
A mobile health care team is tending to COVID-19 patients in Salem, the Statesman Journal reports. The nonprofit Alluvium Mobile Health Team launched Monday to provide at-home care in efforts to reduce 911 transports and alleviate hospitals.
The team is made up of five physicians and one nurse practitioner, mostly from small independent medical practices in Salem. They work in partnership with the Salem Fire Department and Falck Ambulance.
It's been a month since Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order directing Oregonians to stay home “to the maximum extent possible,” except for conducting essential tasks like getting groceries, refueling their vehicles, or seeing a doctor for an important visit.
Many businesses have been shuttered, including those “for which close personal contact is difficult or impossible to avoid,” according to the governor's order. That means bowling alleys, gyms, gift shops, malls, spas, senior centers and theaters, among others.
Last week, Brown announced a pact with other West Coast governors to coordinate their response to the coronavirus pandemic. That came after news that Oregon appears to be succeeding at keeping new deaths and infections down, but at great cost to the economy.
Protest in Olympia against stay-at-home order
Hundreds of people gathered at the Washington Capitol in Olympia Sunday to protest Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. They held signs that read “End The Shutdown” and “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me COVID 19!”
In Olympia, some protesters wore masks, while others waved American flags and pushed baby strollers. Tyler Miller, one of the organizers of the event, had said rural areas should be treated differently than more urban locations with more coronavirus cases.
Washington had the nation’s first confirmed coronavirus case in January and the first deadly cluster at a Seattle-area nursing home.
On Friday, Washington state Republican legislative leaders released their plan for reopening Washington’s economy. It specifies some lower-risk industries — such as residential construction, auto dealers and solo landscapers — that could reopen soon.
Corvallis is the site of door-to-door testing
Oregon State University is teaming up with the Benton County Health Department to conduct a door-to-door testing program meant to ramp up public-health information about COVID-19 in Corvallis.
University officials hope that the Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics — TRACE-COVID-19 for short — will serve as a template for other universities to provide critical information to the public.
According to the university, trained field staff with the study will visit randomly selected Corvallis households, collecting samples from 960 people. The study will be completed over four consecutive weekends through May 16.
Participants of each household who choose to take part will be given a nasal-swab kit that they can use themselves inside their home. Field staff will wait outside, and will not enter anyone’s home.
3D printing PPE for health care workers
Across the Portland area, 3D printmakers are creating emergency supplies of face shields and other vital protective gear for health care workers battling COVID-19.
Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival canceled over virus concerns
The Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is canceled over coronavirus concerns, The Astorian reports.
The 53rd annual festival was scheduled from June 19 to June 21 at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds. The festival association and the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association announced the decision to cancel Wednesday night.
“The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a time we come together to celebrate the long summer days and our heritage through music, dance, food and community,” Tony Larson, the festival’s chairman, and Carla Oja, the chairwoman, said in a statement. “It will still be a time to celebrate. We recommend people plan a midsummer celebration at their homes with their family this year.”
The next Scandinavian festival is in June 2021.
Oregon National Guard Armory in Coos Bay considered as possible quarantine site for unhoused communities
The Oregon National Guard Armory in Coos Bay has been identified as a possible quarantine location to shelter people without homes who have tested positive for COVID-19, The World reports.
According to Megan Ridel with Coos Health and Wellness, the site seems to be “a good fit” considering the large amount of space. An order requesting permission from the state to use the facility was approved last week by Coos County Commissioners.
The Oregon National Guard Armory is one of many local sites being considered for quarantine purposes if a sudden influx of positive coronavirus cases occurs.
Boeing restarting airplane production this week
Boeing is resuming production of commercial airplanes in the Seattle area this week, putting about 27,000 people back to work after halting its operations due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Associated Press reports the aerospace company is taking extra precautions and instituting comprehensive procedures at all of its sites to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Workers will use face masks and other personal protective equipment, and utilize hand-washing sites, staggered shift times and employee wellness checks.
Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting