October 21st Update: COVID-19 and Wildfires

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

As the weather gets colder and case rates climb, it is more important than ever that we do our best to protect ourselves and others.  That means wearing our mask whenever we are around others, and bringing a mask with us everywhere we go just in case we encounter other people.  Remember to keep your mask dry, clean, and fitting snug around your nose, chin and cheeks. 

Fall photos

COVID-19 Updates

New Developments

  • Face Covering Requirement: Oregon Health Authority has updated their guidance for face coverings.  It is not recommended that individuals wear a face shield instead of a mask or face covering. Face shields can be very good at blocking droplets that individuals release, but they are not as effective at limiting the release of aerosols that can go around the shield.  Wearing a face shield alone without a mask or face covering increases the potential for transmission of viruses to those in the same room as the individual without the mask or face covering. It is recommended that wearing a face shield alone be limited to situations when wearing a mask or face covering is not feasible, such as:  
    • When a person has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering. 
    • When people need to see mouth and tongue motions in order to communicate (e.g., for communicating with children in certain developmental stages or people with hearing impairments).  
    • When an individual is speaking to an audience for a short period of time and clear communication is otherwise not possible. In this situation it is important to consider: 
      • Ways to lower risk to the audience including all audience members wearing masks or face coverings. 
      • Having enhanced building ventilation
  • DMV Updates: The Oregon DMV is working hard to improve their customer service, and safely meet the needs of Oregonians during this pandemic.  If you need DMV services, check out their website to see if you can get things done online, or need to make an appointment for an in-person visit.  Here are some recent improvements they have made:
    • Field offices appointments are outperforming 2019 volumes, indicating that we have begun addressing the backlog of driver-related transactions;
      • Appointments topped 24,000 last week, above the 2019 weekly average of ~14,000
      • Selected field offices have begun a pilot project to test walk-in services
    • Knowledge and drive tests continue to improve with the installation of additional knowledge test machines and additional drive test examiners;
      • DMV plans to resume drive tests at select field offices by Oct. 31st
      • DMV is executing an emergency rulemaking to increase the cap on the number of drive tests a 3rd party examiner can conduct in one day, from 16 to 20
      • 37 additional knowledge test machines, originally planned for installation by March of 2021, are now planned for installation by the end of 2020
      • Physical barriers have been installed between knowledge test machines in field offices, allowing for greater use
    • Vehicle titles and Call Centers continue to struggle due to sustained high levels of phone calls, and limited bandwidth for processing title transactions. Additional personnel are being hired for both service areas this month, and through the end of the year.
      • The first team of phone agents have been hired, and began answering calls this week
  • Draft Vaccination Plan: The CDC has asked all states to share how they plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine once a safe and effective vaccine is ready. OHA has submitted a draft plan to CDC.  This draft plan is only the first step. OHA is reaching out to public health, health care and community organizations to partner with us as we continue to develop this plan. We want to understand how our current systems for getting people vaccinated may need to be rebuilt to meet the needs of communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  OHA’s plan will follow federal guidance for a phased approach. This means starting with vaccinations for critical groups, including people involved in the pandemic response and people at the highest risk for getting very sick. As more vaccine becomes available, there will be wider distribution to other high risk groups and the general public.
  • Small Businesses Grants-Hillsboro: The City of Hillsboro is opening up applications for up to $25,000 in emergency grant funding for small businesses.  Small businesses and nonprofits in the City of Hillsboro can apply to receive between $2,500 and $25,000 in emergency grant funding this week. Grant awards will be sent out as early as the week of November 9.  Applications will be accepted from Tuesday, October 20, at 8 am through Monday, October 26, at 5 pm on the Micro Enterprise Service Organization (MESO) website.  The emergency support is funded by the Federal CARES Act through Business Oregon, the State of Oregon’s Economic Development Agency, to help offset some of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  More information here.
  • Forest Grove School District Seeking Feedback: As the district continues to press forward in Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) they would like to gather feedback on your experiences so far. We know parents and teachers are experiencing the struggles and the successes of this new system. The district wants to know more about your experiences so they can work to improve. Here is the link to the survey
  • Flu Vaccine: There has been misinformation spreading about the flu vaccine, and the Oregon Health Authority is working to correct the record.  As flu season ramps up in the midst of the pandemic, make no mistake, the flu vaccine does not make people susceptible to COVID-19. There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19. Getting a flu shot can help protect you and the people you spend time with from getting the flu. Some of the best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 are to wear a mask and avoid spending long periods of time indoors with people who don’t live with you. More information on the flu vaccine and COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Flu Vaccines are Safe

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 8,188,585 (up 60,061 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 219,499 (up 513 from yesterday)
    • Cases in the Last 7 Days: 401,139
    • 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 40,136 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  
    • Tuesday we had 346 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 6 new deaths. 
    • Monday: 266 cases, 8 deaths
    • Sunday: 220 cases, 0 deaths
    • Saturday: 388 cases, 3 deaths
    • A total of 633 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
    • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 5,429 confirmed cases, including 44 new cases on Tuesday.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 
  • The Oregon Health Authority recently provided a Public Health Indicators Dashboard to enable communities across Oregon to monitor COVID-19 in the state.The dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Thursdays, provides a transparent report that presents complex epidemiological data in an interactive, easy-to-understand way on a state and county level. 
  • New Modeling: Oregon Health Authority has released its most recent COVID-19 modelling, which suggests 3 potential scenarios based on the trends of the last ew weeks. 
    • Transmission continues as-is: If we assume transmission continues at the current level over the next month, the COVID-19 outcomes will continue to increase. The model projects that by November 5: 
      • The number of new daily infections (currently 1,300) will increase to 2,200. 
      • The number of existing infections that are newly diagnosed each day (i.e., newly diagnosed cases) will increase to 570, assuming current testing practices continue. 
      • The number of new severe cases each day will increase to 40. 
      • There will be about 194,000 cumulative infections. 
      • The Re will remain at 1.15 (10th and 90th percentile estimates from 11 runs: 1.09 and 1.23). 
    • Transmission increases again: If we assume that transmission increases by 5 percentage points and continues at that level over the next month, the COVID-19 outcomes will increase more dramatically. The model projects that by November 5: 
      • There will be approximately 1,200 more new daily infections (3,400 vs. 2,200), 170 more diagnosed cases each day (740 vs. 570), and 8 more new severe cases each day (48 vs. 40) compared to the continued as-is scenario. 
      • There will be about 211,000 cumulative infections. 
      • The Re will be 1.30 (10th and 90th percentile estimates from 11 runs: 1.23 and 1.36). 
    • Transmission returns to August level: If we assume transmission decreases by 10 percentage points, thereby returning to the estimated August level, and continues at that level over the next month, the COVID-19 outcomes will start to decrease again. The model projects that by November 5: 
      • There will be approximately 1,400 fewer new daily infections (800 vs. 2,200), 280 fewer new diagnosed cases each day (290 vs. 570), and 20 fewer new severe cases each day (20 vs. 40) compared to the continued as-is scenario. 
      • There will be about 174,000 cumulative infections. 
      • The Re will be 0.88 (10th and 90th percentile estimates from 11 runs: 0.82 and 0.95). 
Daily Update 10.20

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

Wildfire Updates

Update from FEMA

A FEMA External Outreach Site opens Oct. 20, 2020 in Estacada to assist Oregon residents in Clackamas County affected by recent wildfires and straight-line winds.

The site offers in-person visits for residents to get information about their application, ask questions about letters they receive from FEMA, and have their documents scanned to be part of their application.

Representatives from FEMA’s Individual Assistance program will be available at the site.

Hours for all FEMA External Outreach Sites are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Outreach sites are also open in Medford, Eugene, Stayton and Lincoln City. 

FEMA External Outreach Site #5

Estacada City Hall—Opens 8 a.m. Oct. 20

475 S.E. Main St.

Estacada, Oregon 97023

At any time applicants with disabilities who may require a reasonable accommodation can ask FEMA staff directly or submit their accommodation request via email to FEMA’s Office of Civil Rights at FEMA-CivilRightsOffice@fema.dhs.gov or by calling FEMA’s Civil Rights Resource Line at 833-285-7448.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread through person-to-person contact, wearing a mask or face covering is required to gain entry and visitors receive “no touch” temperature screenings. Hand sanitizer is available to survivors and staff.

Federal staff wear masks, face shields and gloves. Workstations are spaced six feet apart to provide an extra level of protection for survivors and staff.

FEMA ensures that common areas are cleaned regularly during the day and workstations are sanitized after each visitor.

Survivors can visit any of the External Outreach Sites for in-person help, however, they do not need to visit an External Outreach Site to apply or update their application. They can apply for assistance or update an application in the following ways:

Call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. PDT, seven days a week.

Visit DisasterAssistance.gov 

Check FEMA’s mobile app.

Those who use a Relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. They should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish).

All Oregonians – including those affected by the recent wildfires and straight-line winds – who have questions about repairing or rebuilding disaster damaged homes or want to learn more about building stronger and safer, to include creating defensive fire spaces, can contact FEMA Mitigation Specialists via email at FEMA-R10-MIT@FEMA.DHS.GOV. This is a free service.

Updates from Oregon Office of Emergency Management:

Oregonians impacted by the recent wildfires may be interested in Oregon Lifeline, a federal and state government program that provides discounted phone or high-speed internet service to qualifying low-income households. Oregon Lifeline is currently offering a monthly discount up to $21.75 through December 2020. Oregon Lifeline also offers free cell phone and data service from Access Wireless, Assurance Wireless, or enTouch. For additional information about the Oregon Lifeline program, call 1-800-848-4442, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or view details online.

Human Impacts

Information current as of 10/19

Wildfire Resources

OEM has put together this list of contacts to help speed up the process of replacing these documents:

  • Green cards: Phone (800)-375-5283; Website: www.uscis.gov
  • Medicare cards: Phone: (800)-772-1213; (TTY) (800)-325-0778 Website: www.medicare.gov
  • Military records Phone: 866-272-6272 Website: www.archives.gov/contact/
  • Passport Phone: 877-487-2778; (TTY) 888-874-7793 Website: travel.state.gov
  • Social Security card Phone: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778 Website: www.ssa.gov
  • U.S. Savings Bonds Phone: 844-284-2676 Website: www.treasurydirect.gov
  • U.S. tax returns Phone: 800-829-1040 Website: www.irs.gov
  • Birth, death, marriage, domestic partnership, divorce certificates Phone: 888-896-4988 Website: www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Birthdeathcertificates
  • Driver’s license, auto titles and registration, ID cards Phone: 503-945-5000 Website: www.oregon.gov/odot
  • SNAP (Oregon Trail Card) Website: www.oregon.gov/DHS/Assistance/Food-Benefits
  • State taxes (Oregon Dept. of Revenue) Phone: 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 TTY: All relay calls are accepted. Website: www.oregon.gov/dor
  • Real estate and property - Contact your county government.
  • Credit cards - Contact your credit card company directly.
  • Credit reports from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion Phone: 877-322-8228 Website: www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Insurance documents - Check with your insurance agent.
  • Medical records - Call your doctor or your medical insurance company; medical and prescription records are tracked electronically.

The Governor’s office has put together a Wildfire Resources page that you can access from the Governor’s home page.  It has links to many of the most important updates about the status of fires and resources for evacuees.  This website will be updated regularly.  

The Department of Forestry’s Wildfire Response and Recovery Overview has ongoing updates about firefighting efforts, damage reports, and more.  

FEMA Updates: FEMA has provided several different Fact Sheets and resources for accessing benefits, determining eligibility and avoiding scams.


Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority



Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: Rep.SusanMcLain@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain