A West Coast Compact For Reopening Based On Health Data

By OPB Staff (OPB)
April 13, 2020 2 p.m.

Oregon had 57 new coronavirus cases confirmed Monday, with 1,584 cases on the books.

One new death from COVID-19 was reported Monday. A 66-year-old Washington County woman died April 12 at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center. She first tested positive for the disease March 30, and had underlying medical conditions, according to the Oregon Health Authority.


Fifty-three people in Oregon are known to have died from COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority issues updated numbers each day on the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Washington deaths surpass 500

Washington as of Saturday had confirmed 508 deaths from the novel coronavirus. The state has 10,411 confirmed cases.

One person died and another 19 tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Clark County, Washington over the weekend.

The virus has now killed 15 people and infected 239 total. The person who died over the weekend is a man in his 80s, Clark County Public Health said Monday.

Clark County has been the most heavily hit county in Southwest Washington. The three next populous counties in the region – Cowlitz, Lewis and Wahkiakum – have had a combined total of 54 positive cases and three deaths.

West Coast governors joint plan

The governors for Oregon, Washington and California announced Monday that they have a "shared vision" for reopening businesses and managing the coronavirus in the future.

In a co-authored statement from Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, the leaders set out some early criteria for restarting the economy.

First, they said, people's health has to come first. Any decision to ease stay at home orders would not come if it endangers people's lives. The governors said they would be looking at data, specifically a declining rate of virus spread, before any "large-scale reopening."

"We will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this," the governors' statement said.


They also outlined that public health officials would focus on four priorities to control the virus in the future: fighting outbreaks, particularly among older populations; ensuring adequate hospital and health care capacity for new cases; reducing disease impacts on "disadvantaged communities;" and developing better systems for testing and tracking the disease.

Governor Kate Brown announces $8 Million in assistance for Oregon Food Bank

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that the state will provide $8 million to the Oregon Food Bank in response to an increased demand in food assistance amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I know many Oregonians, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs and incomes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Oregon Food Bank Network is a vital resource for families in need,” Brown said in a statement.

The state intends to pay the Oregon Food Bank weekly as needed over eight weeks to meet the increased demand for food. Oregon expects to receive a 75% reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in accordance with the federal emergency declaration made last month.

According to the Governor’s office, the food bank has seen a “dramatic increase in demand since March,” at the same time there were fewer donations coming in from food producers, manufacturers and grocers due to high demand.

“The organization is facing an increase in demand while they also address a significant decrease in food donations from commercial sources. This funding supports Oregon Food Bank's efforts to ensure resources remain available to Oregonians facing food insecurity — bridging the gap until additional food and funds from the federal CARES Act reach Oregon,” Brown said in a statement.

According to the Oregon Food Bank, their network includes 21 regional food banks and more than 1,400 food assistance sites around the state.

Those in need of food can also apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP for food benefits, through the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Easter goes ahead, without church gatherings

Sunday celebrations for Easter adapted to methods that allowed for fellowship amid social distancing. Churches closed their physical doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but many congregants joined online services via Facebook, YouTube and Zoom.

Others drove into parking lots to worship with others sitting in their cars; pastors adjusted by projecting services via loudspeaker.

Researchers in Washington try to estimate when restrictions might safely loosen

An influential University of Washington model suggests deaths and hospitalizations may have peaked in that state. But health officials say lifting restrictions too soon could cause cases to surge again.

"What’s the end game?” said Dr. Elizabeth Halloran, an infectious-disease specialist and modeler at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who advises the federal government on outbreaks. “What can we do short of keeping everything shut down for 18 months or longer until we have a vaccine?”