COVID-19 Update: April 28th

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Representative Smith Warner


Thank you to those of you who attended the Coronavirus Town Hall I hosted with Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Sen. Michael Dembrow last week. Many of you have been following the progression of Oregon’s response efforts closely and understandably have questions and concerns. We have planned additional opportunities for you to get direct information from the Governor’s office and Oregon health officials. More information on those upcoming town halls are available at the end of this newsletter. 

Over the coming weeks and months, we will have an incredible amount of work to do to make sure Oregon is on the road to recovery. I look forward to continue working together to make prudent and responsible decisions that focus on the most vulnerable, keep Oregonians safe and help our state move through this unprecedented crisis. 

Oregon Employment Department Opens Pandemic Unemployment Assistance            The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is open and accepting applications. Self-employed, contract, and gig workers not eligible for regular unemployment benefits who are filing for the first time should use the instructions and initial application on the top of the CARES Act Page to complete their claim. This page also has links to instructions in multiple languages on how to file an application and FAQs about the program. More information about Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC for the 13-week extension) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC, for the $600 weekly payments) is also available. 

Technical Glitches with Employment Department Website Resolved                                If you are seeking guidance on what steps to take because your unemployment claim has been denied, the department has made an automatic fix to address some of the system issues that people are facing, in addition to frequently updating their website with up-to-date information. Some people were denied because they said they weren’t looking for work with other employers, and the automatic fix should be correcting that. Those claims will continue to be processed and people should continue filing weekly claims. 

Oregon Health Authority Update                                                                                          The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reports up-to-date information regarding testing statistics that can be found on their website


You can review the daily update and read the weekly report that details the overall picture of the COVID-19 response across government agencies. Here are some recent developments from OHA: 

  • More Abbott ID NOW test kits, which can identify COVID-19 within five minutes, will be available soon from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Some Oregon hospitals can test for COVID-19 using the Cepheid GeneXpert (45-minute turnaround time) platform, which increases overall testing volume for the state. More hospitals and clinics are slated to bring Cepheid testing on line following successful validation of the test in their laboratories
  • OSPHL continues to prioritize its testing to identify and control clusters of COVID-19 disease in congregate care settings, including long-term care and correctional facilities.
  • Oregon’s cumulative positive testing rate has remained fairly consistent at about 5 percent of tests performed, compared to the national average of 18.4 percent.

SBA Accepting Applications For Additional Paycheck Protection Program                    An additional $310 billion in funds was recently authorized for the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These are low-interest and fully forgivable loans available for companies with a maximum of 500 employees to help retain employee payroll. SBA has resumed accepting applications from participating lenders to provide economic relief to an array of businesses and nonprofits experiencing hardship.    You can find an eligible lender here

IRS Guidance for Supplemental Security Income & VA Benefits Recipients                The IRS issued guidance for individuals  who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Administration support who have dependent  children under the age of seventeen, and did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019. In order for individuals in this circumstance to maximize their COVID-19 relief payment, they need to visit the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool on While SSI and VA beneficiaries will automatically receive the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment, they need to take action to also receive the $500 payment for dependent children under age 17. If no action is taken, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child will be paid in association with filing a tax return for tax year 2020.

Guidance From the Department of Consumer & Business Services                            The Department of Consumer and Business Services issued new guidelines that insurance companies must follow until the state emergency order is no longer in effect:

  • Institute a grace period for premium payments on all insurance policies issued in Oregon
  • Suspend all cancellations and non-renewals for active insurance policies
  • Extend all deadlines for consumers to report claims and communicate about claims
  • Provide consumers the ability to make premium payments and report claims while maintaining safe social distancing standards
  • If you have questions or concerns about your insurance company or agent, you can contact the department’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit for more information or to file a complaint.

TriMet Provides Free Bus Line to Emergency Bottle Drop Center                              Many individuals rely on bottle recycling centers to support themselves financially and have experienced difficulty accessing these services due to store closures. In response, TriMet has dedicated a free bus line service for riders seeking to drop off recycling at the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative’s emergency bottle return center on Northwest Yeon Street. The line will only accept fifteen individuals at a time and operates everyday from 8 a.m to 5:30 p.m. 

COVID-19 Informational Webinars                                                                                          I will be holding two more COVID-19 informational meetings via video chat with Rep. Alissa Keny Guyer and Sen. Michael Dembrow on Thursday, May 7, from 5 p.m to 6:15 p.m, and Thursday, May 21 from  5 p.m to 6:15 p.m. Please save these dates in your calendar. Guests will include Oregon health officials, staff from the Governor’s office and representatives from state agencies to answer your questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 response efforts. More information on how to register will be forthcoming. 

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

Sincerely,                                                                                                                              Rep. Smith Warner 


Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

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