October 30th Update: COVID-19 and Wildfire

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Today Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority unveiled their new metrics for return to in-person instruction in K-12 schools.  These metrics focus more closely on local metrics, and should allow more schools to bring students back to the classroom.  Many districts, including Washington County, still have case rates that make it unsafe to return, however, the new metrics are more achievable.  Those districts that are eligible for return under the new metrics will still have planning and other steps necessary to make the return to classes safe, so we should not expect any district to be able to make use of these updates immediately.  These updates have re-ignited my hope and desire to do all I can to bring our local case numbers down, so more students can return to the classroom.  I hope this news sparks a similar renewed energy for you.  Remember to be safe this weekend, and participate in remote and socially distanced celebrations of Halloween! 

Carved Halloween Pumpkins

COVID-19 Updates

New School Reopening Metrics: 

  • Earlier today, Governor Brown hosted a press conference to discuss COVID-19 response, and updates to the metrics for returning to in-person instruction.  You can access that press conference using this link (ASL and closed captioning provided).  
  • The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released updated metrics for students returning to in-person instruction.  These updated metrics are based on data from school districts across the country that has become available since Oregon first issued school metrics in August, in consultation with the Governor’s Healthy Schools Reopening Council and the Governor’s Medical Advisory Panel.  
  • It is clear that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and most Oregon students have not been able to learn in a classroom since last March. In-person instruction is critical not only for students’ educational success, but also for their health and wellbeing.  In communities that meet the new metrics for COVID-19 spread, additional students will be able to return to the classroom, with schools adhering to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners health and safety protocols established by ODE and OHA to mitigate infection risks. However, in many communities across Oregon, more work must be done to contain the spread of this disease before students will be able to return to the classroom.
  • Resources
    • ODE has released an update to their Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance today, which will include updated details about the health and safety protocols schools must have in place to return to in-person instruction.   
    • The Metrics Dashboard is still being updated, but it will be available here soon.
    • ODE Metrics Guidance
    • List of the Counties where schools will be eligible to return to at least some in-person instruction for students
  • Enforcement
    • If you believe a school is not in compliance with the safety requirements you can file a named or anonymous complaint with Oregon OSHA at 1-833-604-0884 or online here
  • Key Changes To Metrics
    • Measurement period, 2-week average: County metrics will be measured for one, 2-week period instead of three 1-week periods. Particularly in small counties with low case counts, a small change in the number of cases in one week could have prevented schools from opening under the previous metrics.
    • Remove statewide positivity metric: Holding all districts to a statewide positivity metric has led some schools to remain closed even when community metrics are at safer level—now only a county’s positivity rate will be used.
    • Elementary School (K-6): Elementary schools provide the best opportunity for maintaining small cohorts. This group of students also has the most difficulty with comprehensive distance learning and individual study—young students are still learning to read, and can still have difficulty reading to learn. Under previous metrics, only K-3 students were allowed to return to school first, meaning that elementary schools could reopen in some districts but 4th, 5th, and 6th graders could not return to their school. Under new guidance, OHA and ODE have determined that students in grade K-6 can return so long as strict protocols are followed and with consultation with local public health. 
    • New metrics for in-person instruction: A full guidance document from ODE explaining the new metrics for in-person instruction is available below.
    • Local decision-making: No metrics can account for all situations, particularly in a state as large and diverse as Oregon. In addition, school districts need time to plan to shift from distance learning to in-person instruction, or back if necessary. Under the new school metrics, school districts, in consultation with local public health, will make final decisions about when schools can move to in-person instruction. ODE and OHA will advise school districts during that process, and will confirm with school districts when their county has satisfied the required metrics for the return to in-person instruction. ODE, OHA, and Oregon OSHA will work together to ensure that school districts are meeting state standards for reducing risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the learning and working environment for students and staff.
Visual representation of the metrics for in-person, hybrid and distance learning models.  Click here to access the larger pdf document.

Other New Developments:

  • Indoor Visitation at Long Term Care Facilities (Information provided by Oregon Health Authority):  Protecting the health of our vulnerable elders has been a necessary priority during the pandemic. But for many folks, missing out on visits with loved ones who may not be able to meet outdoors has been difficult.   Starting Nov. 2, licensed nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities that qualify will be able to allow limited indoor visitation for residents. Residents will be able to have up to two visitors at a time to meet within an approved area.  To qualify, a facility must:
    • Have no suspected or current COVID-19 cases.
    • Follow visitation requirements detailed in the policy and related guidance.
    • Be in a community with a low or medium rate of COVID-19 exposure. Facilities in communities with high incidents of COVID-19 may only have visitors indoors who qualify under the compassionate care policy.
    • More information on the policy and how facilities can qualify are available on the Oregon Department of Human Services news release.
  • Mythbusting: the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has noted some confusion about COVID-19 deaths and funding. OHA funding is not based on the number of COVID-19 cases or deaths reported. The number of cases or deaths that local public health departments report also does not have a connection to the funding they receive from OHA. The goal in reporting data is to inform the public and share how, as a community, we can limit the effects of COVID-19.
  • Washington County Update: Washington County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington, has released a plan for increased flexibility within Phase 1 of reopening, and submitted this plan to the governor for her consideration.  In her statement she said “Our local, national and global communities have been enduring this new coronavirus global pandemic with all kinds of health and economic consequences. Many businesses, small, medium, and large, have had their business models impacted by the public health steps taken to try to reduce the impact and risk of this virus. It is all painful in one way or another.  As the Chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, I have been working with fellow elected leaders to impress upon our State leadership the need for assistance and flexibility in serving our residents and businesses as this new coronavirus has been present in Washington County for 8 months. Governor Brown shared her strategy to re-open Oregon back in April. Washington County advanced from baseline to phase 1 as of June 1st. We have all learned a lot and invested resources in order to operate as safely as possible as we accept that this virus is a permanent feature of our community. The public health officers of our region have been asking the Oregon Health Authority for flexible assistance for weeks. They have now crafted a proposal for a new phase between phase 1 and 2, so that more businesses can be operating. This information was shared publicly at the Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting this past Tuesday, October 27.” 

Employment Updates:

Below are the audio and video links to Employment Department Director, David Gerstenfeld’s media briefing from earlier this week:


  • The recording of last week's webinar about adjudication and what it means for your claim, is now online here. It covers adjudication to explain to claimants what adjudication is, and some of the many reasons why a claim may need to be adjudicated.
  • 16 webinars are posted on the YouTube site, on several topics.
  • Here is the registration link for next week’s webinar that will be going over the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) online form in Vietnamese. 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) EXTENDED DEADLINE!

The deadline to submit an application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance has been extended. Oregon requested, and received, an extension through Friday, November 27 for people to apply for DUA. Press release HERE.

  • As a reminder, DUA provides a safety net for those whose employment was directly impacted by the September wildfires, and who are not already eligible for another unemployment program.
  • So far, we have paid $114,318 to 101 Oregonians through this safety net program.
  • Anyone whose employment was impacted by the recent wildfires and who has not yet applied for DUA should submit their application ASAP. Remember, you must be in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, or Marion counties and you CANNOT be eligible for any other unemployment benefits.
  • Visit https://oregon.gov/employ/disaster to find the application, instructions, answer to frequently asked questions, and more.


OED is focused on getting through the cases waiting for adjudication. They are tracking about 52,000 (as of September 30, 2020) people whose claims needed adjudication.  They are urgently focused on these cases and understand that these folks need help fast. 

The Employment Department is using the late September figure of 52k people in adjudication as their goal post. Of that 52K people, about 41,700 people are remaining. The department is setting aggressive timelines for getting through these cases. See release HERE.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) - FEMA extra $300/week: 

These payments go out to people who claim a week from 7/26 to 9/5, but some people still need to complete the certification process.  If you received Lost Wages Assistance, you need to self-certify that your unemployment or partial unemployment is due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. It is very easy to do and the department is sending emails and letters to people who have not yet done so…Go to this Online Claims System and scroll to this green button:

Certification is the one-time step required by FEMA for claimants who receive UI, PEUC, or EB benefits for a COVID-19 reason.  Those with language access needs should contact us by email at OED_LanguageAccess@oregon.gov or call our language hotline 503-606-6969

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 8,924,548 (up 90,155 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 228,100 (up 1,055 from yesterday)
    • Cases in the last 7 days: 537,501
    • 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 44,388 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  
    • Today we have 600 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 2 new deaths. 
    • Thursday: 575 cases, 2 deaths
    • Wednesday: 424 cases, 7 deaths
    • A total of 675 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 6,082 confirmed cases, including 91 new cases today.  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. 
  • Weekly Report: You can read the full report in pdf form here.  From Monday, October 19, through Sunday, October 25, OHA recorded 2,642 new cases of COVID-19 infection—up 14% from last week’s tally of 2,327 and the highest weekly tally recorded in Oregon to date. 
    • The number of Oregonians newly tested rose another 8.6%, to 31,448; the percentage of tests that were positive held steady at 6.5%. 
    • Twenty-seven Oregonians were reported to have died in association with COVID-19—compared to 28 last week. One hundred forty-four Oregonians were hospitalized. 
    • The incidence of reported infection has been highest in persons 20–49 years of age, who account for 39% of Oregon’s population and 56% of reported cases. 
    • People under 30 years of age make up 37% of Oregon’s population and have accounted for 37% of reported cases but only 9% of hospitalizations and 0.3% of deaths. 
    • Hospitalization and death rates increase with age. Although only 3.6% of Oregonians are 80 years of age or older, they account for 332 (51%) of COVID-19-associated deaths; 490 (75%) of the deaths are among Oregonians 70 years of age or older. 
    • Additional data are available here.
  • COVID-19 projections: Oregon Health Authority modeled three future scenarios with different assumptions about transmission starting October 23 and continuing over the next month. You can view the full modelling report here.  As a reminder the “Re” is the reproduction rate, or the average number of new cases caused from each existing case. 
    • Transmission continues as-is: If we assume transmission continues at the current level over the next month, COVID-19 outcomes will stay at a relatively steady level. The model projects that by November 19: 
      • The number of new daily infections will remain at around 1,000. 
      • The number of existing infections that are newly diagnosed each day (i.e., newly diagnosed cases) will increase slightly from 340 to 380, assuming current testing practices continue. 
      • The number of new severe cases each day will be about 22.
      • There will be about 186,000 cumulative infections. 
      • The Re will be about 1 (10th and 90th percentile estimates from 11 runs: 0.93 and 1.08). 
    • Transmission increases: If we assume that transmission increases by 5 percentage points and continues at that level over the next month, adverse COVID-19 outcomes will increase. The model projects that by November 19: 
      • There will be approximately 700 more new daily infections (1,700 vs. 1,000), 140 more diagnosed cases each day (520 vs. 380), and 9 more new severe cases each day (31 vs. 22) compared to the continued as-is scenario. 
      • There will be about 197,000 cumulative infections. 
      • The Re will be 1.16 (10th and 90th percentile estimates from 11 runs: 1.08 and 1.22). 
    • Transmission returns to August level: If we assume transmission decreases by 6 percentage points, thereby returning to the estimated August level, and continues at that level over the next month, COVID-19 outcomes will start to decrease again. The model projects that by November 19: 
      • There will be approximately 400 fewer new daily infections (600 vs. 1,000), 150 fewer new diagnosed cases each day (230 vs. 380), and 6 fewer new severe cases each day (16 vs. 22) compared to the continued as-is scenario. 
      • There will be about 175,000 cumulative infections. 
      • The Re will be 0.82 (10th and 90th percentile estimates from 11 runs: 0.76 and 0.89). 
Table showing Oregon case, testing and demographic data, link to more information

Wildfire Recovery:

Extended State of Emergency: On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown extended the state of emergency in Oregon for fire-impacted counties to support ongoing wildfire emergency response and recovery efforts. The geographic scope of this wildfire disaster emergency includes Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Tillamook Counties. The emergency declaration gives the Oregon Office of Emergency Management all resources at the state’s disposal to continue emergency response and recovery.

Avoid Wildfire Scams: The Oregon Department of Justice wants to help protect you from scams related to wildfires.  They have a consumer hotline for reporting suspected scams: 1-877-877-9392

They also have a website full of resources, for protecting yourself from scams, tools for finding places to donate.  Oregon DOJ resources here.  

Wildfire and insurance: If you are affected by the Oregon wildfires, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to discuss your current situation and learn about next steps. If you still have questions or concerns, the Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Insurance Division’s consumer advocates are here to help. Call 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit dfr.oregon.gov/help to connect with the Advocacy Team.

Recovering from wildfire takes time, but the information below will help you save time, money, and stress at each stage of the recovery process. 

For more information on wildfires and insurance, click here

Wildfire Recovery 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.  

Lega; Resources: Oregon State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Program, Oregon lawyers, through the Oregon State Bar, are partnering with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide legal assistance on FEMA claims, contract claims, insurance claims, landlord-tenant matters and more.

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


View Past Updates, Share and Subscribe: 

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 (http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain), 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.  

Photo of Multnomah Falls

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