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Health & Medicine

Friday Updates: Portland Police Bureau Reports An Uptick In Calls

<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 (8:07 p.m. PT) — PPB said calls for service initially decreased following Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s school closure order in March, but calls have begun increasing in the past few weeks. 

“Our calls for service, what we’re seeing is that they’re trending back up and we’re almost at what we would consider a kind of normal level for this time of year for a lot of our call types,” PPB Chief Jami Resch said in a press briefing Friday.

PPB said it is responding to 11 more civil calls per day during the same time period last year. The agency said the increase is likely from calls reporting people who are not obeying social distancing orders. 

Portland State University lays off 106 employees

Portland State University announced Friday that 106 employees are being laid off to help reduce the financial impacts of COVID-19.

“It is our sincere hope that these reductions are short-lived and the employees are able to return to their regular work no later than September 27,” said PSU Interim President Stephen Percy in a statement. “We are developing scenarios for the safe reopening of our campus. I thank each of these employees for their dedicated service.” 

Percy said PSU is losing $13 million “as a result of the actions taken to combat COVID-19.” There will likely be further losses from expected state funding cuts.

The 106 employees received a two-week notice Friday but will be able to retain benefits. Many of the employees are classified staff.

Other Oregon universities have announced staff changes as a result of financial impacts related to the coronavirus. Last month, the University of Oregon announced 282 employee layoffs due to budget impacts.

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission estimates Oregon’s public colleges could be losing $130 million this spring. 

Oregon receives federal approval to expand free meal program

Oregon received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to operate under a new federal program, called Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT).

The program will allow Oregon parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children and waive requirements for when meals can be available. The expanded program also allows meals to be served in settings that support social distancing.

Oregon schools have provided thousands of meals to students since schools were ordered closed. Most school districts continue to offer meals for all children 0-18. Here is a list of Oregon school districts offering free meals.

Oregon health officials report 69 new confirmed coronavirus cases

Health officials in Oregon reported Friday 69 new confirmed coronavirus cases bringing the state’s total known cases to 2,579. 

Health officials also announced Friday one new confirmed coronavirus-related death.

The Oregon Health Authority reports the new death as a 73-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive for coronavirus on April 14 and died April 29 at his residence. He had underlying medical conditions.

The number of people who are known to have died of COVID-19 in Oregon is now at 104.

Clark County reports 2 new confirmed coronavirus cases

In Southwest Washington, Clark County Public Health Friday reported two new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the county’s total number of known cases to 361. 

No new deaths were reported Friday. In total, 21 people are known to have died of COVID-19 in Clark County.

The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health show 14,637 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus and 824 related deaths.

The U.S. as a whole has hit 1 million coronavirus cases Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Face masks mandatory for Alaska Airline employees and flyers

Alaska Airlines announced Friday that face masks will be mandatory for flyers beginning May 11. Face coverings will also be required for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees who cannot maintain six feet of social distance from co-workers or travelers starting Monday, May 4 — that includes pilots and flight attendants.

Travelers will be expected to bring their own mask and will be required to wear them throughout the airport and flight. There will be some additional supplies for anyone who forgets a mask, Alaska said in a statement.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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