Weekly Coronavirus Update: April 17, 2020

David Gomberg

Weekly Coronavirus Update: April 17, 2020

Hello Friends,

Last week, I shared with all of you that there is some light at the end of this long dark tunnel. The difficult and costly steps we are taking have reduced infections by as much as 70 percent. Positive cases are peaking. We have flattened the curve. And we’re beginning to talk about how and when we will start lifting restrictions and opening businesses.

Businesspeople, workers, and health professionals are being brought together to discuss how to gradually reopen businesses, public spaces, and social relationships. That will need to be coordinated with county and city governments that have made local decisions to close hotels, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.

I received a briefing this week from the State Economist. He made it clear that some parts of the state are being hit harder than others. And high on the list is the Central and Northern Coast with a concentration of tourism and fishing jobs. Local Chambers of Commerce are surveying members and hearing that as many as 30% do not expect to re-open.

I’m spending my time advocating that commercial benefits, loans, and support programs from the Federal government be focused on the smaller mainstream and main-street businesses who often don’t have lawyers and accountants to help them apply for help. I worry that too much of the money we read about instead flows to larger firms in other parts of Oregon. Beginning today I’m involved in a regular meeting of bipartisan legislators looking at Oregon incentives to help restore jobs.

I’m also spending hours each day helping individuals and families struggling to get help and worried about their future. I have information below about unemployment, stimulus checks, job openings, and food programs.

Speaking about recovery earlier this week, Governor Brown explained, “We have to be cautious or it will backfire.”

“We know that a vaccine or an effective treatment may yet be months away. And if we move too quickly, we will see a spike in cases that could lead to an overwhelmed hospital system and unnecessary deaths.”

She promised a science-driven process based on several conditions for reopening Oregon: slowing the growth of COVID-19 cases, having more personal protective equipment (PPE), increasing test capacity, establishing a robust system for tracking who has been exposed, and ensuring effective isolation and quarantine for people who test positive, including nursing home residents and homeless people.

So when will all this start to happen? Governor Brown would not specify a date for potentially relaxing business restrictions and social distancing requirements. But the state’s latest modeling estimates that, under current conditions, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations would remain steady through mid-May but would shoot up if those regulations were eased. In other words, we’ll get done sooner if we behave responsibly.

The Governor also suggested we may look at changes on a regional basis. That means that some businesses in areas with stability and fewer cases might reopen sooner. Think hospital care, lawn care, or hair care. But if we open our restaurants, parks, and hotels sooner, we will certainly draw visitors from higher risk regions and potentially re-start the epidemic.

The number of Oregonians with COVID-19 is unknown because many either are not showing symptoms, not being tested, or received inaccurate results. As of Tuesday, 32,363 people had been tested in Oregon since January. The Oregon Health Authority reported that 1,633 of those had tested positive. Fifty-five have died.

We’re getting better. But we aren’t well yet. Maintain your space – stay in place – cover your face. Please.

To ensure we continue to flatten the curve and help our hospitals stay below capacity, we need to be more committed than ever. Our frontline workers are busy harvesting food, stocking grocery shelves, delivering mail or meals, ensuring our utilities are functioning, teaching our students, keeping our communities safe, taking care of our friends and families at medical facilities and so much more. 

It remains critical that if you choose to spend time outside you only do so alone or with members of your own household in places where it is easy to practice social distancing. That way we continue the progress we have made to slow the spread of COVID-19.

I’ve included some useful new information below.

Thanks for continuing to read my weekly updates.


David Gomberg

Stay Home, Save Lives

Northwest Oregon Works: Know someone looking for work? NWOW has a portal that can connect job seekers with current job openings in businesses deemed essential. Click here for details. 

Unemployment Claims:  The Employment Division continues to struggle with unprecedented demand, changing Federal rules, and an antiquated computer program. They have gone from 100 claim-takers to 450 and plan to hire 400 more. Our district has the highest unemployment in the state! If you have filed for benefits and not heard back, don’t spend time trying to call. Email OED_COVID19_info@oregon.gov. If you don’t get a response within four days, let my office know.

Oregon Small Business Navigator: This page is a one-stop shop for small businesses to explore the various tools and resources to weather this storm. It has information on federal, state, and local financial assistance as well as employee assistance.

One-Stop Shop for Public Resources: This page connects Oregonians who have been laid off or had a loss in income to public benefits and provides tips on how to apply for them. If you or anyone you know is looking for assistance with Unemployment Insurance, SNAP (food stamps), health coverage, child care, or housing, this is a great place to start.

Distance Learning and Schools: You’ve probably heard the news that schools are closed for the rest this academic year. But teachers are still working as school districts implement distance learning. A few of the many factors considered are the strain this puts on families to take the lead on education, equity challenges and distance learning for homeless and LGBTQ youth, challenges for teachers such as access to a work computer and using a personal cell phone to connect with youth, and how to support specials needs students.

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks: People have begun to receive federal payments in their bank accounts. If you haven’t already, please set up direct deposit with the IRS to receive your stimulus check as soon as possible. If you did not file taxes because you did not earn enough, the IRS has now set up an easy way for you to give them your information.  If you don’t have direct deposit, paper checks will be sent out over the next few months. I encourage everyone to check the IRS website to ensure that they have the information they need to process your payment.

Food Resources:


Warm Regards,

Representative David Gomberg
House District 10

email: Rep.DavidGomberg@oregonlegislature.gov 

phone: 503-986-1410
address: 900 Court St NE, H-471, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/gomberg