Latest Developments on COVID-19

Representative Smith Warner

Let's Continue to Flatten the Curve


Thank you to everyone who attended Saturday’s COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall with me, Rep. Alissa Keny Guyer and Sen. Michael Dembrow. It was great to hear your questions and concerns, and to offer some clarity on the ever-evolving coronavirus situation that we face. If you were unable to attend, here are some important updates that we covered and the most up-to-date information on the state’s response efforts.

Oregon Health Authority Update

Yesterday, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 1,132 positive cases. Previous projections from OHA showed Oregon’s infection rate to be significantly higher at this time. Despite these alarming numbers, Governor Kate Brown’s social distancing guidelines are making a difference to  flatten the curve. These guidelines will continue to play a crucial role in maintaining our hospital capacity and protecting our most vulnerable populations.To find more detailed information on the current status of coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment supply inventory in Oregon, review the COVID-19 Daily Update

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  • Oregon Health Authority and The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released updated information regarding the effectiveness of homemade face masks. The CDC reported simple cloth face coverings in conjunction with social distancing measures can help asymptomatic people who have the virus from transmitting it to others. Please note that they do not recommend using surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

  • Oregon is in a better position than the state of New York to provide care to those that are hospitalized with coronavirus. In response to New York’s need for ventilators, Oregon sent 140 ventilators to aid in response efforts.

Community Spotlight

It was wonderful to see Prescott Elementary school teachers and staff host a parade to stay engaged and connected with their students. Our community is grateful to have such great teachers to support our students' success inside and outside of the classroom. Thank you for all of the hard work that you do.


In response to Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-08, the Department of Education has provided guidance for online and remote education. Districts across Oregon are strategizing and coming up with creative solutions to meet the needs of their students and ensuring there are supportive resources in place for special education and ESL students. The Department of Education launched a new website, Oregon Open Learning to provide educators and students access to an online professional community with distance learning resources. 

Here are some key elements of distance learning from ODE:

  • Every student regularly connects with their teacher(s).
  • Teachers and students prioritize time together to focus on the most important or relevant learning
  • Teachers,families, and caregivers work as a team, anchored in partnership. Together, teachers and families co-facilitate learning, design consistent routines, and establish the learning environment. 
  • Teachers continue to monitor, report and record each students progress toward learning goals and standards encouraging critical problem solving, collaboration and creativity
  • Schools provide multiple flexible opportunities-for our high school students in particular to earn credit on their pathway to graduation

Understanding Economic Stabilization Resources Available

The CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020, will, among other things, expand Unemployment Insurance benefits. The Oregon Employment Department is working to incorporate these new changes into their resource guides, and will issue a news release and additional online announcements about pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) and unemployment benefit extensions as they receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) 

This is a federal benefit that increases the availability of unemployment insurance benefits to those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers, and those ineligible for state unemployment benefits or who have exhausted benefits.The Oregon Employment Department will provide guidance as soon as possible on the guidelines for this expanded coverage.

If you have not already filed an initial claim application, please do so online. If you have filed, make sure you claim each week you want to request benefits. The department will let you know your options under the federal legislation as soon as possible. The Employment Department is processing a record number of unemployment claims and adjusting to this surge by staffing more employees to handle unemployment claims. You can email questions regarding this process to

Payroll Protection Program

The Payroll protecting program (PPP) provides $349 million in federal loans to help businesses and nonprofits keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. To find out if you are eligible for this program, please click here. The US Small Business Administration has a tool to help you find a lender eligible to issue a loan under the PPP program.


Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order EO 20-13 to prohibit evictions related to non-rent payments like utilities and service charges. This order also prohibits late fees due to an inability to pay and establishes a moratorium on non-residential evictions for tenants of commercial properties. If you need housing resources due to impacts resulting from COVID-19, visit or call 2-1-1. As always, my office can help answer any questions or concerns you have.

Coronavirus Response Information:

Employment/Business/Consumer Information:

Health, Housing & Human Services Information:

  • Oregon Health Plan (available year round)
  • The Crisis Text Line: text TALK to 741741
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline (English and Spanish) - 800-799-7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • SEIU’s website, connects Oregonians to services and provides tips on what to have ready to apply for Unemployment Insurance, SNAP (food stamps), OHP or other health coverage, Employer Related Child Care, and Housing Services

Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301