COVID-19 Update


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Update                     April 24, 2020

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Dear friends,

    As rain returned this week to help ease impending drought, I hope the past six days have found you faring well and continuing to look out for loved ones. Oregon is continuing to follow a measured, science-based process in combatting COVID-19. Our shared commitment –– staying home and social distancing –– has made a significant difference in flattening the curve and ensured that we are in a position to return to life as normal in the safest way possible. Please remember: If you do have to leave your home, wear a face mask in public. A face mask helps reduce transmission of the virus. Without testing, anyone can be a carrier and not know it!

    As you may have seen in the news, the Oregon National Guard began distributing nearly 400,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to all long-term care facilities across Oregon to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities For more information, you can read the Governor's full press release, here

    Governor Brown's recent executive order (EO 20-18) prohibits debt collectors from seizing funds from federal stimulus checks which are meant to help Oregonians endure the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Because Oregonians have kept COVID infections low with social distancing, the Governor announced yesterday that she will lift her order that delayed non-urgent medical procedures. Hospitals, surgical centers, medical offices, and dental offices that can demonstrate they have met new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness will be able to resume non-urgent procedures on May 1.

    There's been mixed signals about the Corporate Activities Tax. The first payment estimates are still due April 30. After being urged by many legislators, including myself, Governor Brown agreed to waive any penalties for business that can't comply due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business. While we appreciate this, many legislators believe it would be simpler to move the due date for the first quarter estimates back 60 days to allow small businesses a little more breathing room, an opportunity to improve their cash flow, and to reduce their anxiety of needing to meet a deadline that no longer has merit. I'm told that the Department of Revenue is in the process of putting guidelines regarding no penalties being assessed –– I'll share that information once received.

Below you will find information on:

Latest Oregon COVID-19 Infection Data
        - Emergency Board COVID-19 Funding Allocations
        - Employment Department "Re-start Claim" Issue Fixed
        - Department of Education Announces Plans for Students in Grades 9-11
        - AARP Webinar: "Unpacking the CARES Act"
        - Additional Funding from the Federal Government
        - Reminder: Oregon Small Business Navigator
        - Primary Resource Links
        - U.S. Supreme Court Decision Ending Non-unanimous Juries

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Latest Oregon COVID-19 Infection Data

    As of April 24, 2020, our state has experienced the following number of positive cases and deaths attributable to COVID-19:

  • 2,177 cases in Oregon
  • 45,492 people tested for COVID-19 in Oregon
  • 86 deaths reported in Oregon

Emergency Board COVID-19 Funding Allocations

    The Legislature's Emergency Board met yesterday to approve more than $30 million in funding for Oregon's response to COVID-19 and its economic fallout. You can watch a recording of the meeting and view materials, here. The E-Board made the following response distributions from the state's emergency fund:

  • $12 million in housing assistance. This is to help some of Oregon's most vulnerable populations, especially medically vulnerable people without a safe place to shelter. Funding includes hotel vouchers for quarantine housing for farmworkers and homeless people, as well as funding for rent relief payments made directly to landlords through housing agencies.

  • $10 million in the Oregon Worker Relief Fund. The federal government left much of our workforce behind in their stimulus package. Many individuals did not qualify for needed support. Communities all across Oregon depend on these workers, who deserve security during these difficult times.

  • $5 million in small business stabilization (and $5 million from Oregon Business Development Department) to help small businesses that were not helped by federal funds.

  • $2 million in domestic violence services. Our local community organizations have truly stepped up to the unique challenge of COVID-19 and the increased volume of calls and requests for shelter. This additional funding is important for the safety of individuals and our community. Funding will be allocated through the Department of Justice to the domestic service nonprofits.

  • $3.35 million in Long-term Care Worker COVID Testing and Training. These funds are for testing and training of workers in long-term care facilities and settings.

  • $120,000 for a Bureau of Labor position. This position will focus on critical human resources to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    You can review details about each of these allocations by accessing the E-Board's meeting materials page. Each of the items on the list is explained by a separate document, identified by its list number.

Employment Department "Re-start Claim" Issue Fixed

    I heard from several constituents about a re-start claim issue that surfaced on Sunday for many Oregonians filing claims for unemployment benefits. The following is an update I received from the state Employment Department:

    "We know the re-start claim issue we saw last Sunday [April 12] happened again this morning [April 19] to many Oregonians claiming benefits. This issue has been fixed, and if they experienced the re-start claim error, they should be able to try again and successfully file their claim online now. Today [April 19] alone, nearly 100,000 Oregonians have already successfully filed initial or weekly claims for benefits. That record level of online claim processing, paired with other weekend system maintenance, is what caused the re-start claim issue we saw last weekend to happen again. We care about everyone's ability to successfully process their claims, and continue working hard to improve our systems, while also getting new benefit programs up and running. The Employment Department has been and will continue to post information about any claim issues and new updates on the Employment Department’s COVID-19 page."

    As a reminder, anyone with claim-specific questions can use the department's dedicated e-mail address to get into a queue to have their specific question answered. The e-mail address is staffed with trained and dedicated employees and someone will get back to you:

Department of Education Announces Plans for Students in Grades 9-11

    Two weeks ago, I reported on the changes that the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) announced regarding distance learning. Since then ODE released its next set of guidelines to local school districts, this one focused on high school students in grades 9-11. A bulletin describing the changes is available, here.

    A couple of changes to note: First, because of the current disruptions, juniors will not be expected to fulfill the "Essential Skills" part of the diploma requirements, but subsequent graduating classes will.  Second, all districts are being directed to move from letter grades to "pass/incomplete" for grades 9 to 11 for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Students who have not achieved a passing grade for a course by the end of the school year will receive an "incomplete" grade for the course and given the opportunity to continue to work to get the grade up to a "pass." 

    This is an approach that other states are also taking in response to the pandemic. ODE has been assured by colleges and universities that they won't penalize students for having these grades on their transcript for this period.  You can read the details of the guidance here.

AARP Webinar: "Unpacking the CARES Act"

  On Tuesday, April 28, AARP will host a webinar on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. You can register for the webinar, which will be tailored toward professionals and advocates in the aging network, using the link below.

    What: AARP webinar, "Unpacking the CARES Act"
    When: Tuesday, April 28, starting at 3 p.m.
Register here

Additional Funding from the Federal Government

    Congress has approved a new $484 billion relief package that includes additional funding for the Personal Protective Payment (PPP) loan program. The House of Representatives approved the package yesterday. The breakdown of this disbursement nationwide is:

  • $300 billion in additional funding to PPP;
  • $50 billion in additional funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program of the Small Business Administration;
  • $75 billion for hospitals; and
  • $25 billion for additional COVID-19 testing capacity.

    We expect that the federal administration will issue rules on eligibility for each of these funds shortly. However, you should contact your financial institution immediately to discuss your situation to determine if you or your business are eligible for relief under this new relief package.

Reminder: Oregon Small Business Navigator

    At the direction of Governor's office, Business Oregon has established a Small Business Resource Navigator to assist with business questions and provide help accessing existing resources. Business Oregon has staff available to respond to calls and e-mails Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. via the resource hotline (833-604-0880) or

Primary Resource Links

    Here's a list of government resources that you may find useful:

In Non-Covid-19 Breaking News:

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Ends Non-unanimous Juries

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires unanimous jury verdicts in state criminal courts. This decision ends Oregon's practice of using non-unanimous juries to determine defendants guilty of felony crimes other than murder. Oregon was the last state in the nation to allow this practice.

    I applaud the Court's decision. Oregon's non-unanimous jury law is outdated, prejudicial and unjust. A representative jury is key to holding the state accountable and it is necessary that every individual on a jury is in agreement when deciding whether to convict an individual of a felony crime. We will include more information on the impact of this ruling in Oregon in our May newsletter.


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