Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update: May 20th, 2020

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

May Legislative Days will begin this Friday, May 22nd.  This will be an opportunity for Interim Committees to meet virtually on Microsoft Teams to discuss the impacts fo COVID-19 on Oregon from specialized lenses, the budget issues we are facing, and other important policy issues.  You can find more information on when committees are meeting, submit testimony, and watch the meetings live or taped on OLIS.  

Plowed Field

I hope you have a chance to enjoy the holiday weekend, by walking or biking in our beautiful community. I love to relax and refresh by enjoying our community farmlands just outside Forest Grove and Cornelius! Look at this rich plowed field! Remember to take care of yourselves and others, by maintaining distance and covering your face.

Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast

We have now received the June 2020 Economic and Revenue Forecast, and due to the pandemic, we are looking at a $2.7 billion shortfall in the 2019-21 biennium. Oregon is in a COVID-19 caused economic recession, and it is expected to take years to fully recover. In all, the state economists project a loss of $10.5 billion over the next five years.  To paraphrase our state economists, our health and economic needs are not trade offs, they are inextricably linked.  We can’t solve one problem without solving the other.  You can watch the entire presentation on the revenue forecast from the House and Senate Committees on Revenue here.  OPB has also done some great reporting on this issue, available here.

Economic Forecast-Revenue Sources

The table above shows the revenue impacts from different funding sources, we anticipate revenue losses from nearly every source over the next 3 biennial, totalling $2.7 in lost revenue in this biennium.  Read the full revenue report and find more information here

Spending and Income Forecast

Anticipating the severe budget impacts of this pandemic, Governor Brown has already asked state agencies to prepare prioritized reduction plans equaling a 17 percent reduction for the upcoming fiscal year as a planning exercise to explore all options. As Co-Chair of the Education Budget Subcommittee, I am working with the Oregon Department of Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to review their planned reductions.  It is important to remember as we face these budget reductions and revenue shortfalls, that these are more than just numbers, they are the programs and agencies that help our state work for everyone. 

However, we are much better situated to weather this economic crisis than we were before the great recession.  We must take the lessons of the 2008 crisis seriously, and work harder to create plans to navigate this economic crisis in ways that lift all boats, and do not leave vulnerable communities behind.  I will be making the most of my committee positions to advocate for strong action to protect the health and economic well being of Oregonians.  

As Speaker Kotek wisely stated this morning,  “Together, Oregon will survive this challenge and thrive again soon.”

Other New Developments

  • SNAP/EBT: If your children qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school, you are eligible for newly available Pandemic School Meal Replacement benefits (Pandemic EBT) to help you replace the meals they would have received if schools were open.  Households that already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will have these new Pandemic EBT benefits for March, April and May automatically deposited to their existing SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts in late May. Students who get free or reduced-price meals but do not receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive an Oregon Trail Card in the mail. If you have experienced significant income loss and may have become eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, you can apply for Pandemic EBT any time before June 30, using this link or by contacting your local school. 
  • TriMet Policy on masks: Starting today, May 20th, everyone will be required to wear a face covering on TriMet’s buses and trains. The requirement for riders to use face coverings was announced by TriMet last week. This is inline with OHA guidance, which also strongly recommends riders use face coverings at rail stations, transit centers and busy bus stops. This follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control when physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other individuals cannot be maintained. (Children under the age of two should not wear face coverings, nor should people with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent it.)  TriMet has installed disposable mask dispensers on board their buses and trains, to help riders comply with the face-cover requirement. Please, only take a single mask when needed and dispose of it properly when you are done with it.  
TriMet Safety
  • Washington County Reopening Update: Washington County has made progress in meeting the criteria for re-opening and will be submitting their plan to the Governor this Friday, May 22nd.  Washington and Clackamas Counties both hope to reopen on June 1st.  You can read more about the Washington County Reopening Plan here.  Remember that we are still under Stay Home Save Lives, and must continue to follow those guidelines, more information on the Phases of Reopening and Stay Home Save Lives here.  
  • Blood Donations Needed:  While the overall blood supply is meeting current needs, we are facing a new challenge, having the right type of blood for patients battling sickle cell disease during this coronavirus outbreak. Since mid-March, the number of African Americans donating blood with the Red Cross has dropped by more than half. This is largely due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches and schools and the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates for African Americans compared to other ethnicities.  Despite the steep decline in blood donations, the need for blood products for patients with sickle cell disease remains steady and constant.  Without a readily available blood supply, sickle cell patients can experience severe pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes. Additionally, African American blood donors are vital for many patients with rare blood types, like those with sickle cell disease, who depend on blood that must be matched very closely to reduce the risk of complications.
    • Download the Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule your blood donation appointment, and then share with your social networks to encourage them to give as well
    • Host a drive. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting a Red Cross blood drive, visit

Case Data

National Numbers: 

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,528,235 (up 23,405 from yesterday)
  • Deaths: 91,664 (up 1,324 from yesterday)
  • These national numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can view their national and state by state data here

Oregon Status Report:  Oregon now has 3,801 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  Today we have 65 new confirmed cases and 10 new presumptive cases.  Tragically we have had a total of 144 Oregonians die from COVID-19.  Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 658 confirmed cases, however we are seeing a downward trend in new cases.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 

Daily Update May 20

Table showing Oregon case, testing and demographic data, link to more information

Mental Health in Children

The unknowns of the pandemic can be particularly difficult on young children. Children take cues from their parents and other adults. If you have young children, please consider these tips put together by the Oregon Health Authority:

  • Remember, children follow the lead of their parents. They look to you to see if they should be afraid, concerned, confident, calm or carefree. You can set the stage for their response to be concerned and confident by taking a moment to check in with yourself before you check in with them.
  • Consistency and structure can help establish a sense of normalcy and be calming. Try to establish a simple routine for your family in 60- or 90-minute chunks. Get your children involved in the planning process to give them a sense of control.
  • Physical activity has been shown to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression. Taking regular breaks to go outside for fresh air and exercise is great for mental health. Look for free online resources for youth-focused at-home workouts.
  • Relearn how to be present with your family. Being present and available for your family can be the best way to support and help during this stressful time. Consider working on tasks or projects alongside your children and set aside time to offer your family your full and undivided attention.
  • Maintain technological well-being. The key to healthy screen use is awareness and open conversations with your children. Consume news judiciously from reputable journalism organizations, the Oregon Health Authority or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participate in technology alongside your children, for example by engaging with them via social media apps or video games they frequently use.
Mental health in Kids

Education and Student Resources

  • A Superintendent's Thoughts on Reopening Schools in the Fall
  • Unemployment for University and College Students: College students who have lost income from a part time job, or a work study position, may qualify for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Many students are seeing claims being processed already or have cases that are pending.   You can visit this site for information on how to apply.  The State of Oregon added some information so as to make the process easier and have added some information videos so people know how to answer the questions in this COVID 19 environment.  Students should try to do things online as much as possible because the wait for calling is still about 2 hours and the Unemployment offices do not answer all the calls they receive because of the large volume of calls.  Students should continue to claim their weekly benefits even if they have not gotten their UI benefit check(s) or if their case is still pending approval. 
  • Veterans bridge loans available: The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is now accepting applications for a new grant program aimed at helping Oregon veterans complete their educational goals. The Veteran Educational Bridge Grant Program provides financial assistance to veterans who are unable to complete their education due to the unavailability of one or more required classes. For more information about the Veteran Educational Bridge Grant Program, or to apply, visit the ODVA website at Questions may also be directed to ODVA’s Veteran Educational Bridge Grant Coordinator, Scott Salazar, at or by phone at 503-373-2338.

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


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If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my legislative website (, click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there. You can also share this site with your friends and loved ones, so they can view past newsletters, and subscribe to future updates.  

Outside Susan

Your health is important, take care of it by spending time safely outside. Enjoy the decent weather and fresh air, and the flowers blooming in our neighborhoods. As we move towards reopening, remember to take care of yourself and others by enjoying the outdoors safely!

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301