UPDATE (5:32 p.m. PT) — The Oregon Health Authority Tuesday reported an outbreak of coronavirus at Bob’s Red Mill in Clackamas County. The outbreak investigation began on May 27, OHA said.
In a statement from Bob’s Red Mill CEO Dennis Vaughn, the company said there were 14 employees at its Milwaukie production facility that tested positive for COVID-19.
“All are home to rest and quarantine with full pay. We are hopeful for mild cases and speedy recoveries,” Vaughn said in the statement. “Upon positive testing, we immediately implemented contact tracing. Out of an abundance of caution, additional employees who may have been in contact despite social distancing are also at home to quarantine.”
OHA said the risk to the public from the outbreak is low, and it will release additional information in its weekly report Wednesday.
New number for unemployment help
Oregonians who have filed for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program now have a number to call with questions: 503-370-5400.
Until now, there has been no phone support for the new program, which extends unemployment benefits to independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed for the first time.
That means tens of thousands of people who’ve applied to the program have had nowhere to turn for help. Until recently, they weren’t even getting confirmation their applications had been successfully received.
Tina Siegl, a nail technician and esthetician in Ashland, got through Monday, as the new phone number started circulating informally in a Facebook group of PUA applicants.
“That’s the first live person I’ve talked to this whole entire time,” she said.
Siegl initially filed for unemployment March 31, then refiled under PUA in early May.
She said the employment staffer who took her call this week spotted a problem on her application within minutes: a mistyped date.
“If she’s right and she can fix it that quickly, somebody should have spotted it weeks ago and been able to fix my problem,” she said.
The employment department said it was working on a toll free number as well.
Tacoma immigration jail to test all detainees for COVID-19
Federal officials said Monday that they will test all people detained at the Northwest detention center in Tacoma, according to the Associated Press.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility can house about 1,500 detainees.
The action comes after immigration advocates sued in attempts to free medically vulnerable detainees amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Oregon death toll slowly rising
Oregon’s death toll from COVID-19 rose to 157 Tuesday, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
OHA reported three new coronavirus-related deaths:
- A 36-year-old woman in Multnomah County who tested positive on May 31 and died the same day at Adventist Hospital. She had underlying medical conditions.
- A 66-year-old woman in Multnomah County who tested positive on April 1 and died on May 22 at her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.
- A 81-year-old woman in Washington County who tested positive on April 6 and died May 26 at her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.
The health agency reported 33 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, putting the state’s running total of current cases at 4,335.
The highest number of new cases is in Multnomah County, where OHA identified 10. Presumptive cases are people who have not tested positive for the virus but have symptoms and have had close contact with a confirmed case.
Oregon COVID-19 Map