November 26th Update from SD 23

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Michael Dembrow

November 26, 2022

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well, staying healthy, and looking out for your neighbors and friends during this past week.  And I hope that you were able to enjoy a happy and restful Thanksgiving holiday. 

In this week’s newsletter you’ll find information about next week’s constituent coffee and a preview of the upcoming series of committee meetings that we call “Legislative Week.”

On the COVID front we’re seeing the biggest uptick in COVID hospitalizations and infections that we’ve seen in quite a while, much more than last week’s OHSU forecast would have led us to expect. Wastewater analysis is also now showing more increases than decreases.

We’ll see next week if this is an anomaly or an ongoing trend. Given all the travel and socializing that has occurred during Thanksgiving week, though, we should expect more increases next week.  We’ll see.

We continue to see ongoing, increasing strain on our pediatric hospitals as a result of RSV and flu, along with COVID.  Following last week’s emergency declaration by the Governor, Oregon’s major pediatric hospitals have adopted “Critical Care Standards,” allowing them to focus on the most serious cases.  You’ll find more information about current conditions in the links included in this week’s newsletter.

Until next time, please do your best to stay happy, healthy and safe. And let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about anything in this week’s newsletter.


COMING NEXT SATURDAY: December Constituent Coffee!!!

Next Saturday, December 3, is the first Saturday of the month, which means another monthly constituent coffee from 9 am to 10:30 am.  We’ll be returning to Zoom for this meeting. (We're continuing to alternate between in-person and zoom.)

It will be a chance for me to debrief on the election, report on work groups that are underway, let you know about bills likely to come our way in 2023, provide a preview on the upcoming Legislative Days (see below), and get your thoughts on priorities and future action.

You can register for the December 3 coffee here.  See you there!


December Legislative Days Coming
During the week of December 5 the Legislature will hold a series of remote committee hearings for the last of our so-called “Interim Leg Days” prior to the 2023 session that begins in January and continues until June 25.

At long last these committee hearings will be in person at the Capitol (though some people providing expert testimony will still be doing so via zoom). We’ve been assured that the enough of the ongoing seismic work will be completed to allow all the hearing rooms on the first floor to be available for meetings. The public will be able to enter the Capitol via the main doors on State Street, across the street from Willamette University.

Here is the schedule for this year’s December Leg Days hearings:

Leg 1Leg 2

Agendas for these meetings will be posted by the end of next week. You’ll find them on  the Oregon Legislative Information System (  There are two ways to see them:

  • You can go to Committee Agendas Online,, where you’ll find them all. You can scroll down to the committee that you want and see its agenda. (You can then click on the committee name to get to the committee’s webpage to find the posted meeting materials, eventually including links to the proposed committee bills.
  • Go to and then click on Committees, then click on the individual committee that you’re interested in.

Each of those websites will include links that will allow you to watch the hearings live or recorded.

Another feature of this particular set of Leg Days will be the introduction of many of the Committee Bills that will be in play during the 2023 session. (Bills can either have individual legislative sponsors or be introduced by the individual Senate and House Committees at the discretion of the Chair with the approval of the committee members.) In order for a committee bill to be introduced, the committee will need to vote to allow that to happen, and that happens during this last meeting prior to the session.  Generally, this is a pro forma vote, designed simply to get a bill into the legislative queue, but sometimes on the more controversial issues, individual legislators may choose to vote against its introduction.

During the week prior to a committee’s meeting date, committees will begin to post their first set of committee bills.  It’s a way for you to get an idea of some of the topics of discussion that we can expect in January.  Many of the hearings will also include previews of those topics, along with the personal bills that legislators will be introducing soon.

The committee bills that are approved during Leg Days will be considered to be “Pre-Session Filed” and eligible for introduction on the first day of the session, January 17. Be warned, though, that many of them will essentially be “placeholder” bills, containing little more than its broad subject matter at this point.  Details will be added via the amendment process once committees are actually meeting during the session.

[Note: additional committee and personal bills can still be introduced after the session begins.]

Next week’s newsletter will include more detailed information about the items that will be discussed during Leg Days. 



Weekly Data Report: Increases in Nearly All Metrics

OHA now updates and reports COVID metrics once a week, on Wednesdays. 

Here are the last set of daily results, for this past week from 11/17/22 through 11/23/22.

As you’ll see, this week’s report is showing a trajectory of increases in nearly all the metrics.  We may or may not be seeing the beginning of a fall wave at last.  We’ll know in the next week or two. (The most recent OHSU forecast predicted that we would not be seeing big increases this fall/winter.)

  • The 7-day average for new infections rose again last week, from 465 last week to 512 reported infections per day. The number of new cases is again likely an undercount, as many people are using home tests to determine their infection status but are not reporting those results.
  • Average test positivity for the last week increased a little, to 7.2% vs. the previous week’s 6.8%. Again, this number skews high because it likely reflects a higher proportion of people showing COVID symptoms (and thus reporting or going in for a test, rather than self-testing and never reporting).
  • On Wednesday there were 311 COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide, increasing from 230 last Wednesday. Hospitalizations are now our best indicator of disease spread. Again, however, most of these hospitalizations are not in and of themselves due to COVID—more than half are those who tested positive after having been admitted for other reasons.
  • The number of COVID patients in Oregon’s ICUs on Wednesday took a big jump, from 25 to 45. These are the most serious COVID infections.
  • There were 37 COVID-19-related deaths reported during the last week, down from the previous week’s 44. Again, some of every week’s reported deaths actually occurred in earlier weeks but were just reported to the state. The newsletter’s final graph shows when the deaths actually occurred, and you’ll see that the number of COVID deaths each day continues to remain low.


Weekly County Report: All But Five Counties Now Low Risk

The CDC assigns risk levels based on a combination of the number of new COVID cases and the number of people in hospital for COVID.

According to the CDC Daily Counter (updated each Thursday), for the eighth week in a row none of Oregon’s 36 counties is currently at High Risk.  All are either at Low Risk or Medium Risk.

Five rural Oregon counties (up from one last week) have reported infection rates that place them in the Medium Risk category:  Coos, Curry, Harney, Klamath, and Lake.

The remaining 31 Oregon counties (down from 35 last week) are at Low Risk.

We can also track the cases, deaths, and test positivity rates for each county at this website.

The three Portland-area counties showed overall increases in positivity rates from the previous week. Clackamas County is 8.0%, up from last week’s 7.1%. Multnomah County remained at 6.8%. Washington County is also at 7.1%, up from last week’s 6.2%.

Remember, though, that these are all based on reported test results, and so are more likely to be a little higher than the total percent positivity (i.e., if one were to include all tests taken).


This Week’s Wastewater Monitoring Report: More Increases from Last Week

With testing reports giving us just a fraction of infections out there, wastewater monitoring has become a more reliable indicator of the amount of virus in cities around the state.  That report is updated each week.

This week’s report is largely the same as last week, but it does show more increases.  Fifteen percent of the cities showed an increase or sustained increase last week (up from 3%). Six percent of cities (down from 18%) showed decreased or sustained decrease in viral load from the previous week. Seventy-nine percent  of the cities tested (same as last week) again showed no change. 

Portland, McMinnville, Corvallis, Bend, and Siletz were the locations showing sustained increases last week.


Additional COVID Updates and Links



cases graph




hospital graph


deaths graph


Here again are some COVID resources that you will find useful:

If the above links are not providing you with answers to your questions or directing you to the help that you need, please consider me and my office to be a resource.  We’ll do our best to assist you or steer you in the right direction.


Want to See Past Newsletters?

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.  Also, if someone forwarded you this newsletter and you’d like to get it directly, you can sign up for it there.


dembrow signature

Senator Michael Dembrow
District 23

mail: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301