As COVID-19 infections slowly rise, health officials continue to express concern that smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest could impact the recovery of people infected with the virus. Evacuating fires while fighting coronavirus also carries a number of concerns.
“The first priority in wildfire situations is to respond to the evacuation and safety instructions of local and state fire department officials and heed their warnings. Regardless of the state of the disease, if you are asked or ordered to evacuate, you should do so, ”the Oregon Health Authority said in a news release Thursday.
The agency also asked people who evacuate during quarantine to take these precautions:
- If you have time, contact your local public health authority, who should have already been in contact with you for your isolation or quarantine. They may have solutions to help you continue to remain isolated if you need to evacuate.
- If you are directed to a shelter or other evacuation space, let the officials know that you are in solitary confinement or quarantine so they can take steps to keep you away from other displaced persons.
- Always wear a mask when you are away from home or if you can come into contact with people who do not live with you.
- If you are an older adult or person with a disability, please contact the Aging and Disability Resources Connection for resource information at 1
- Practice physical distance to the greatest extent possible if you have to travel outside the home for any reason, including evacuation.
An additional step is required for some people to receive COVID-era unemployment benefits
Unemployed Oregonians hoping to get an extra $ 300 on their weekly unemployment benefits may need to take an extra layover to start receiving those funds.
For people who get unemployed through the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, the extra payment authorized by President Donald Trump’s executive order should appear automatically.
But people who receive regular benefits, or the extra 13 weeks of payments under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, must go online to certify that they have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The state has six weeks of federal funding. People qualify if they received unemployment benefits between July 26 and September 5. Payments are expected to begin at the end of this month.
Umatilla County has allowed COVID-19 restrictions to be eased
Umatilla County has permission to ease some restrictions on the coronavirus, effective immediately, the East Oregonian reported Friday.
This is a turnaround from last week, when Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority rejected the county’s request to enter Phase 2 of the reopening. At the time, they said the county had more than 100 COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents and did not meet other state parameters to loosen restrictions.
Oregon’s coronavirus death toll approaches 500
The Oregon health authority reported two more deaths to COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the pandemic’s confirmed death toll to 497 in the state.
- A 64-year-old man from Jefferson County who tested positive on August 5 and died on September 10 at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.
- A 91-year-old man from Multnomah County who tested positive on August 24 and died on September 1 at Adventist Medical Center in Portland.
They both had underlying medical conditions.
The state also reported 215 new coronavirus diagnoses on Friday, bringing confirmed and suspected known cases in the state to 28,865 since the start of the pandemic.
New diagnoses fell for five consecutive weeks in Oregon
New coronavirus diagnoses are down 5% from a week earlier, the Oregon Health Authority said in its weekly COVID-19 report, released Thursday.
The report examines the week of Monday, August 31 to Sunday, September 6, when health officials reported 1,477 new cases of COVID-19 infection. The weekly total is over 30% below the weekly peak reached in mid-July. This marks the fifth consecutive weekly decline.
Deaths also dropped to 23 from 39 the previous week. The percentage of positive tests also dropped slightly from 4.4% to 4.3%.
People in their 20s continue to be the most likely to contract COVID-19, while those over the age of 80 make up nearly half of all Oregon deaths from the virus.