November Updates

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Representative Smith Warner


As we get closer to celebrating some of our favorite holidays, it’s important that we all take the time to think about how we can incorporate public health protocols that will help keep our families and communities safe. With cases exploding in urban and rural parts of the state, we all need to come together and encourage best practices that protect public health like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, avoiding groups and washing our hands. 

Two-Week Freeze Guidance

As many of you know, last week the Governor announced a Two-Week Freeze, from November 18 through December 2, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The new measures are included in the graphic below. The freeze does not change current protocols for personal services such as barber shops, hair salons, and non medical massage therapy, congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions, and higher education. You can find additional guidance here


Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Update

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reports up-to-date information regarding testing statistics that can be found on their website. You can read details about the overall picture of COVID-19 response efforts in Oregon. Here are some recent developments:

  • OHA’s latest COVID-19 weekly report  set pandemic highs for daily cases and hospitalizations.
  • OHA reported 6,491 new daily cases during the week of Monday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 15, a 25% increase over the previous record-high week.
  • The percentage of positive tests for COVD-19 increased to 12.5% from 11.9%, even with an increase in the number of people tested.
  • Weekly hospitalizations from COVID-19 rose to 291, the highest yet reported in the pandemic.
Graph COVID-19

December Revenue Forecast

The December Economic and Revenue Forecast was recently released showing that the revenue forecast is stable from the last revenue forecast in September. Like the last forecast, there is about a $1.9 billion ending fund balance projected for the 2019-2021 biennium, but also projected is a deficit of nearly $1 billion for the upcoming biennium. While there are positive signs here, as we have heard time and again from our state’s economists, it is critical for our economic recovery that we get this pandemic under control.The forecast continues to obscure the painful impacts being felt by low-income Oregonians who have been disproportionately affected. I remain committed to standing up for every Oregonian, prioritizing funding for critical programs and services people are counting on, ensuring historically marginalized communities in this state are not yet again sidelined in the next economic recovery, and helping all those affected by wildfires and the COVID-19 crisis recover.

Oregon Employment Department Update

The employment department has made many improvements over the last 8 months including opening two new contact centers, obtaining more equipment to streamline internal workflows for processing claims, and finding more ways to communicate with claimants and make it easier to file claims for multiple benefit programs. In preparation for an increase in claims as a result of the freeze, National Guard troops will be joining OED staff as of November 30 to support claims processing for several programs with focus on regular UI, PUA, and PEUC. As a reminder, here is some some helpful information about the waiting week and resources that you can use to assist you with your claim:

Waiting Week
The employment department will be able to pay out the waiting week to eligible Oregonians who filed, or will file, a regular UI claim between March 8, 2020 and Jan. 2, 2021.  Waiting Week FAQ are available on the website. You can find detailed information on the waiting week, including information on what claimants in different scenarios can expect regarding a waiting week payment. You can also log in to the Online Claim System to find out when your waiting week is. 

New Initial Claims
Initial claims can be filed on the Online Claim System. Go to the website for help. On the left side, are links to step-by-step application guides/videos, the Unemployed Worker Handbook, FAQs, and online applications for regular unemployment benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).   

Restarting Claims
The Online Claim System here has a Restart Your Claim option (it’s the 8th button down). For more information on restarting claims or moving to a new benefit program, visit this FAQ.

Contact Us Form
Can’t find what you are looking for? Use the Contact Us form and check the Restarting my claim option if you are unable to restart your own claim.The best way to get in touch with the department  is to use the Contact Us form -- They are able to get back to customers within one week, so there is no need to call and wait on hold. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, the website also has a search function where you can search for what you need.

General Information 
For more information on restarting claims or moving to a new benefit program, click on the information box at the top of site. The department will continue to update their website with more information about benefit programs and resources. 

Thanksgiving Festivities

If you are looking for some fun and creative ways to safely celebrate Thanksgiving, the Oregon Health Authority released some ideas that can incorporate all of your friends and family. See the graphic below: 

Turkey Day

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



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

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