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Health & Medicine

Saturday Updates: As COVID-19 Deaths Climb, Jail Populations Decline

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

UPDATE (5:27 p.m. PT) — Oregon health officials reported 76 new coronavirus diagnoses in the state Saturday. That brings Oregon’s confirmed case total to 2,253.

Health officials Saturday also reported one new coronavirus-related death, bringing the state’s total known deaths to 87.

Oregon’s 87th COVID-19 death ws a 59-year-old man in Lane County, who tested positive on April 14 and died on April 23 at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, reported OHA. He had underlying medical conditions.

Washington state cases continue to climb

Clark County Public Health on Friday confirmed six new cases of coronavirus in the county. There are now 327 confirmed cases there.

The agency also announced two new coronavirus-related deaths Friday — a man and woman, both in their 80s.

To date, 19 people in Clark County are known to have died of COVID-19.

The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health show 13,319 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus and 738 related deaths.

Oregon's jail population down 45% 

The average daily population of Oregon’s county jails has dropped nearly 45% since COVID-19 forced widespread societal changes in March, according to the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.

So far, no inmates in the county jails have tested positive for the virus. But only small number — a total of 17 of the thousands still behind bars — have been tested.

This week, the Oregon Department of Corrections reported a spike in prison cases. A total of 25 inmates and staff have now tested positive.

Social distancing reducing coronavirus spread in Oregon

New modeling released by the Oregon Health Authority Friday shows that the state’s aggressive social distancing measures are continuing to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The modeling estimates approximately 8,400 coronavirus infections in Oregon as of April 16. The state had confirmed 1,900 cases of COVID-19 at the time.

Current social distancing measures are estimated to have averted more than 70,000 cases and more than 1,500 hospitalizations, the report states. It said those interventions have to be maintained to decrease the number of people actively infected with the virus.

Oregon fire marshal extends self-serve gas rule

The Office of the State Fire Marshal announced Friday an extension of the temporary self-service gas rule created to address a shortage of gas station employees amid the pandemic.

The initial self-service rule was announced March 28. It has been extended to May 9.

Washington re-opens construction

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday some construction can resume in the state after more than a month on hiatus.

Inslee’s giving the OK for builders to return to construction projects that are already underway, so long as workers can stay 6 feet apart and follow a new set of safety guidelines.

Workers must take COVID-19 safety training and wear employer-provided personal protective equipment like face masks, Inslee said. There must also be a person on site whose job it is to make sure those guidelines are followed

Oregon emergency manager apologizes

The director of Oregon’s emergency preparedness agency issued an apology to staff Thursday after his office refused for weeks to alert workers about a possible coronavirus exposure.

Oregon to open rapid testing location

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday that Walgreens is opening one of its first coronavirus testing sites in Oregon. 

Drive-through testing will be available in Hillsboro by appointment only for patients who have completed an online health assessment and meet both federal and state eligibility for testing. 

The testing will be overseen by Walgreens pharmacists, the governor’s office said, using an Abbott ID Now testing instrument to return test results within 24 hours.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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