UPDATE (4:26 p.m. PT) – Oregon state and local health officials reported 84 new known cases of the novel coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 690.
The Oregon Health Authority also announced two new deaths related to the virus Tuesday — a 90-year-old man in Yamhill County and an 88-year-old woman in Benton County.
Both people had underlying medical conditions. The state now has 18 known deaths from the virus.
Washington eclipses 4,000 cases
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Clark County is 116 and six people are known to have died with COVID-19, according to public health officials.
Six more people tested positive for coronavirus in Clark County Tuesday, Clark County Public Health said.
Washington had 4,896 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus and 195 related deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to the Washington Department of Health.
Oregon education officials move toward ‘Distance Learning For All’
Oregon Department of Education director Colt Gill said Monday night that schools in Oregon may be out for the rest of the academic year.
With that in mind, the state department of education shared guidance with superintendents to make a move from supplemental learning to “Distance Learning For All.”
While schools remain closed, the state’s guidelines for families include recommended daily instructional times:
- Grades K–1: 45 minutes
- Grades 2–3: 60 minutes
- Grades 4–5: 90 minutes
- Grades 6–12: 30 minutes per teacher (3 hours in a day)
“Districts may want to consider the full variety of options to ensure students have clear pathways to earning credits and meeting graduation requirements” including online coursework, passing an advanced test or completing a portfolio, the guidelines read.
The department has not yet released any guidance on graduation requirements for seniors in the class of 2020.
State testing has already been canceled for the year.
More PPE coming for Oregon
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said it expects a shipment of personal protective equipment sometime Tuesday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The agency did not specify the number of supplies it expects to receive at its Wilsonville distribution center.
“As soon as we receive any shipment of PPE, whether through FEMA or private suppliers, we ship those supplies to each county and Oregon’s nine tribes,” Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, said. “We anticipate the delivery to counties and tribes to be complete on or before April 6.”
Phelps still said Oregonians should continue social distancing measures to help slow the spread of the virus.
“Even in light of the arrival of more PPE, I urge all Oregonians to continue taking preventative action,” he said. “The bottom line is we know we’re going to need more.”
Goodwill will lay off more than 2,600 employees
Goodwill Industries of the Columbia will be laying off 2,632 employees effective April 2.
Bob Barsocchini, Goodwill’s general counsel and human resources director, said the layoffs are effective as of that date so that the company can continue to pay its employees’ health insurance premiums through the month.
The company will also pay out any accrued vacation employees may have, Barsocchini said, and affected employees will receive an additional subsidy of $300.
“The longer this goes, the more difficult it will be to just open up 53 stores at once,” he said. “We really, truly are focused on getting this back to normal as soon as we can. I can’t overstate how really dedicated the staff is right now at doing that.”
Salem public transit agency shuts down service
The Salem area’s public transportation agency, Cherriots, will temporarily shut down service starting Tuesday, the Statesman Journal reports, due to staffing shortages — including seven staff members who have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
The agency’s paratransit service, Cherriots LIFT, will provide trips by appointment only for medical care and dialysis treatment.
Cherriots had announced Saturday it would reduce routes as of Monday, but then cited significant staffing shortages and the need for social distancing for the complete suspension.
Closures hit 14 national forests in Oregon, Washington
The Pacific Northwest’s national forests have closed all developed recreational sties to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. Forest Service decision to close sites in 14 national forests in Oregon and Washington came after they became more congested in the wake of states’ orders to stay home as much as possible and limit close contact with others.
The order applies to campgrounds, trailheads, roads leading to campgrounds, boat ramps and day-use areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and health authorities have called for such actions to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the region.
The enforcement plan states recreation sites within forests are experiencing extremely high levels of recreational use that make social distancing difficult, if not impossible.
The forests where developed recreational sites are now closed: Rogue River-Siskiyou, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, Willamette, Olympic, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Colville, Deschutes, Ochoco and Crooked River Grassland, Umatilla, Siuslaw, Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur.
If the order is violated, enforcement actions will be taken, ranging from verbal warnings, to citations or arrests.
The order will be lifted as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local, county and state orders say it is safe to be outdoors again.