UPDATE: (2:53 p.m. PT) — Health officials in Clark County announced Tuesday that 84 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of an outbreak at a Vancouver fruit processor, Firestone Pacific Foods.
Sixty-nine employees have tested positive for COVID-19, four of whom aren’t Clark County residents. Another 15 people identified as close contacts of those cases have also tested positive.
A total of 165 employees and 83 close contacts have been tested, with additional testing of employees and close contacts expected.
The outbreak prompted Washington to pause Clark County’s request to move to Washington’s Phase 2 of reopening. It may be the largest non-health care-linked cluster of coronavirus cases in the greater Portland metro area.
In total, 510 people have tested positive in Clark County and 25 people have died.
The most recent available data from the Washington Department of Health show 19,265 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,050 known deaths.
Oregon cases near 4,000, 2nd day of no deaths
The Oregon Health Authority reported 18 new coronavirus cases and one presumptive case in the state Tuesday. The state’s total number of known positive and presumptive cases is 3,967.
Presumptive cases are people who have not tested positive but have COVID-19 symptoms and have had close contact with someone confirmed to be infected with the virus.
Officials have reported no new coronavirus-related deaths for the second day in a row.
In Oregon, 148 people are known to have died from COVID-19.
Due to data reconciliation, one case originally reported as presumptive in Josephine County was determined to not be a case. Two other cases — one in the 30-39 age group and one in the 70-79 age group — were also determined not to be cases.
Oregon COVID-19 Map
Jacob Fenton, The Accountability Project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop
OSU researchers search Bend’s wastewater for COVID-19
Researchers at Oregon State University will look into Bend’s sewer system for genetic evidence of COVID-19 in an effort to help determine the virus’ prevalence in the city.
Bend public works staff will collect sewage samples the weekend of May 30-31 as part of its "Coronavirus Sewer Surveillance," the same weekend field workers from OSU's TRACE-COVID-19 project will gather nasal swab samples door-to-door in Bend.
Sewer analysis results will be compared with nasal swab results to better detect the virus among symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
“A really important step is to continue to validate the reliability of our sewer surveillance data with more traditional prevalence data from the medical community and researchers.
Fortunately, the early indications suggest that sewer analysis is a reliable method,” said Tyler Radniecki, an associate professor of environmental engineering said in a statement.
OSU said it has the lab capability to do genetic testing with a predicted turnaround time of about a week.
The university said additional sewer surveillance projects are underway in Washington County.
Baker County judge stands behind coronavirus restrictions injunction
In a three-sentence response to the Oregon Supreme Court, the Baker County Circuit Court Judge who vacated more than 20 of Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders surrounding the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, told the court on Tuesday he wouldn’t back down from his decision.
“I have elected to stand by my original ruling,” Circuit Court Judge Matthew Shirtcliff wrote. “I will not be vacating the May 18, 2020 Order Granting Preliminary Injunctive Relief and Denying Motions To Dismiss or taking other action.”
A group of churches and eastern Oregon public officials have sued, arguing Brown’s executive orders exceed her authority under state law.
PDX sees a small increase in travelers, but still down overall
As Oregon counties continue to move forward with reopening, Portland International Airport has seen a small increase in travelers over the last two weeks.
“As states (and even other countries) begin to reopen, we expect the trends to continue slowly upward for air travel,” said communications manager Susie Rantz with the Port of Portland.
“However, the virus is really in charge when it comes to air travel – so it’s so hard to know what a few months from now might look like.”
Rantz said that passenger volumes at PDX are still down approximately 92% compared to this time last year. That decrease reached a bottom of nearly 96% in mid-April.
Airlines typically release their flight schedules on a quarterly basis, which saw dramatic reductions between April and June. Rantz said that passenger trends will become clearer when airlines update their July schedules.
Oregon Employment Department addresses unemployment backlog
The Oregon Employment Department announced ‘Project Focus 100’ on Tuesday, outlining a plan to address the 38,000 backlogged unemployment claims in the state.The department said it will continue to hire and train new employees, as well as assign experienced professionals on the oldest and most complex cases.
From May 29 to June 12, the agency said it will increase its outbound calls to resolve claims for people who have been waiting the longest.
The Employment Department said it is trying out new ways of contacting people to let them know where their claims are in the system and said they’ve identified ways to move claims out of ‘processing traps’ that can delay them.