Coronavirus update #6: Modeling projections, Childcare, Volunteering, More PPE on the way

Representative Nancy Nathanson

This is the sixth newsletter in my coronavirus series.
My legislative newsletter, distributed separately, will continue on a
more regular schedule, about every other month.

Coronavirus update #6 (March 31, 2020)

Dear friends,

We’re including in this issue some information that has been provided by Oregon Health Authority. The graphs clearly illustrate the value of the aggressive measures that have been implemented to ensure “social distancing,” preventing many more infections and a sharp rise in hospitalizations in the coming weeks.

The state has already distributed over 10,000 face shields, over 400,000 N95 masks and 50,000 surgical masks, and expects more PPE today in a shipment from FEMA.

And here at home, the University of Oregon is tackling the COVID-19 emergency on a number of fronts, including establishing the Student Crisis Fund, testing use of autoclave for sterilizing PPE for the Student Health Center and local medical providers, coordinating PPE donation, exploring the possibility of 3D printing for PPE and other critical supplies, and is actively exploring ways to expand COVID-19 testing in Lane County.

See here my previous issues for information on Unemployment Insurance, Health Insurance, the Eviction Moratorium, Price gouging and more.

Wash your hands!



And Team Nathanson: James and Lindsay

Health update: modeling projection

Oregon Health Authority published the findings of modeling done to project the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, in order to plan to the best of their ability for the healthcare system needs in the state.  The model and analysis was performed by the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Washington, using data compiled from studies performed in areas where COVID-19 has already spread widely and Oregon testing data.

The report models infection rates with three social distancing scenarios*:

  • Green: aggressive interventions: “Stay Home, Save Lives” Executive Order currently in place with 90% compliance
  • Orange: moderate interventions: ban on large events over 250 and school closures
  • Blue: stop social distancing, return to business as usual

*Shaded areas represent range of compliance with social distancing (height of blue shade is low to no compliance and lowest of green shade is full compliance, with margin of error)


You can see above the projections of cumulative and active infections. The green line, the aggressive social distancing measures currently in place, is the only trendline to decrease the number of active infections. Number of infections is useful data, but it’s most useful in projecting the number of people who will require hospital services to recover. The model uses infection rates to project the number of beds needed for COVID-19 patients.

Conclusions from the model:

  • The current aggressive social distancing practice is the only action that decreases the number of beds we need
  • If we let up on these measures, the number of beds required will steadily rise.
  • The limiting factor in our healthcare system is not the number of ventilators, but the number of beds and the healthcare teams that go with them.
  • The number of staffed beds available could sharply decrease if many healthcare workers contract COVID-19 or cannot work due to family-care needs.

We haven’t begun to see the full impact of aggressive social distancing in testing data because symptoms can take up to 2 weeks to show after contracting COVID-19. Statewide efforts are working on increasing hospital capacity in the event that our needs begin to outweigh capacity.

These measures have already fundamentally altered our lives and caused hardships for many families, yet we are still only at the beginning. The model shown above is used for planning and not a prediction. It shows that what we’re doing is working and we need to stay vigilant.

Stay home, save lives: clarifying the EO


All Oregon law enforcement agencies have agreed the primary goal when Oregonians have violated the order is education. Oregon State Police (OSP) stated a “citation or arrest would be an extreme last resort” if a person fails to comply with direction by an officer. See more in these guidelines released by OSP.

  • Outdoor activities are okay if you can maintain no contact with others, 6 feet apart.
  • Public health officials ask residents of metropolitan areas to stay around the area, and not to spread the virus to rural or coastal towns that have fewer healthcare resources.
  • No need to call 9-11 for reporting social distancing violations. Keep emergency lines open for true emergencies.

Workplace Safety

The EO defines certain workplaces that must close, where it is impossible to practice social distancing, and mandates that workers who are able to work from home must. For everyone else, workplaces must practice social distancing or close.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health has an FAQ for workplace enforcement. If your workplace is not maintaining proper distancing or not protecting workers from risk of COVID-19, you can report here.

Child care, focus on helping essential workers

Under the latest Executive Order, childcare providers have an opportunity to provide emergency care to groups under 10, as long as they’re providing services to essential personnel. If they cannot meet these criteria, they must close to ensure that we are practicing the safest social distancing measures.

Critical workers who will be prioritized to receive childcare include those who work in Healthcare, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Food and Agriculture (including grocery stores and restaurant carry-out), Energy and Utilities, Waste and Wastewater, Transportation, Public Works and more. Check here to see if you qualify for emergency childcare.

Providers who want to continue or begin providing emergency child care will complete the online application to notify and be approved by the Office of Child Care. Providers offering emergency child care must also follow specific guidance released by the Early Learning Division, in partnership with Oregon Health Authority.

More deadlines extended, rule changes


The national deadline for switching to the use of standardized Real IDs has been extended by a year to October 2021. ODOT is still on track to begin issuing REAL IDs July 2020, but we have an additional year to make the switch. See more info here.

2020 Census

The Census Bureau is strongly encouraging everyone to complete the online survey, available in 59 languages. It will now be open until August 14 (extended from July 13) to accommodate COVID-19 concerns. Census field operations are currently on hiatus until April 1, and the Census Bureau will continue to monitor the situation. Details can be found here

You can see here how Eugene and Lane County response rates compare to the national average. As of now, we’re responding at a higher rate—let's keep it up!

Gas pumps: temporary suspension on self-service ban

The Office of State Fire Marshal is temporarily allowing self-service at gas stations statewide until April 11. This addresses the workforce shortage at stations due to childcare needs, safety concerns and illness, and ensures fuel is available for essential workers who need to travel.

There will be instructions posted on how to use the pump and an attendant at every station to supervise. Self-service is not mandatory; individual stations will decide what works best for their workforce availability. Like all workplaces under Executive Order 20-12, one employee must be designated to enforce social distancing. Stations will be allowed to offer self-service unattended if no one is available to work, and only for one consecutive shift. See FAQs here.

Volunteering and donations

Many Oregonians have been stepping up to offer donations and services for the COVID-19 response. The Office of Emergency Management has created a webpage where you can register. There are instructions for individuals, businesses looking to sell or donate to the state, and non-profit agencies looking for volunteers or supplies.


End of work day, a late night neighborhood walk

Mental health resources

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting routines, livelihoods and mental health. Here are some ways to protect your mental health from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Separate what's in your control from what is not
  • Do what helps you feel a sense of safety
  • Get outside in nature--even when avoiding crowds
  • Challenge yourself to stay in the present
  • Stay connected and reach out if you need support

Other Resources:

  • The Headspace app has guided meditations and breathing exercises that can quell anxiety and help ground thoughts in reality. The app is completely free to healthcare workers and educators. They are offering a series of guided meditations free for everyone.
  • The White Bird Crisis Line will continue to be accessible 24/7 at 541-687-4000 and 1-800-422-7558. It offers humanistic, person-centered crisis intervention. For an in-person response, CAHOOTS continues to operate 24/7 at this time, if you are in Eugene, please call 541-682-5111. If you are in Springfield, please call 541-726-3714.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness COVID-19 Information and Resource Guide

Dos and Don'ts

Information resources

Lane County Public Health. COVID-19 How testing works video

Oregon Health Authority (with a link to subscribe to their news service)

Oregon Health Plan (open enrollment)

University of Oregon webpage on UO's COVID-19 response
Oregon Office of Emergency Management OEM COVID-19 response.Employment Department: for business: Work Share.

Unemployment Insurance Temporary COVID-19 Rules and Online Claims.

Bureau of Labor and Industries Coronavirus and Workplace Laws.

Department of Human Services.
Department of Education.

Oregon Food Bank's Food Finder.

Oregon Coronavirus Information, including Stay Home, Save Lives Executive Order FAQ

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1413   District Phone: 541-343-2206