Latest numbers for COVID-19 cases in the Mid-Columbia region show Klickitat County is at 14 cases as of Monday afternoon, 12 of which are in the central part of the county, and the other two in the western zone. Wasco County is at ten cases, Hood River County remains at four cases, Skamania County three, Sherman County one, and Gilliam County zero. There have been 315 negative COVID-19 tests in Wasco County, 289 in Hood River County, 240 in Klickitat County, and 45 in Skamania County. The Oregon Health Authority released its latest statewide numbers this afternoon, with 57 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, 36 in Multnomah and Washington counties, and one additional death reported. That brings the statewide totals to 1,584 confirmed cases, and 53 deaths. OHA statistics show 23 percent of the COVID-19 cases reported required hospitalization, and there have been 29,537 negative tests. In Washington, the latest statewide numbers from the Department of Health show 10,411 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 508 deaths, and 83,391 negative tests.
A closure of County forestlands has led to more bicycling taking place on roads throughout the Hood River Valley. County Commission Chair Mike Oates says for the most part the forestland closure has been adhered to, adding the increase bicycle traffic on the roads can be managed. He asked both motorists and bicyclists to be aware of each other and share the roads. Oates says County officials are working on how to put together a budget process for the 2020-21 Fiscal Year through all that is currently going on. Hood River County already was in the midst of a budgetary crisis before the pandemic, and has a public safety levy on the May 19 ballot. Local governments have to have budgets prepared by June 30.
Oregon businesses who missed the opportunity to apply for SAIF’s coronavirus worker safety fund have a second chance after the fund reopened with an additional $15 million. The fund was closed five business days after its launch on March 31 after more than 1,300 businesses applied and used the initial $10 million available. The fund is designed to support employee safety, reduce injuries, and decrease exposures by helping businesses impacted by the coronavirus. More than 53,000 SAIF policyholders across the state are eligible for funds. SAIF recommends policyholders submit applications as soon as possible, given how quickly the initial funding was exhausted. The agency does not anticipate additional funding. SAIF policyholders who previously applied do not need to apply again, as applications are still being processed from the first round of funding.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a guide to federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA Rural Development says The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide is a resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address the pandemic. USDA has taken actions in an attempt to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
The Port of The Dalles public boat launch ramp is still open. Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says the restrooms at the marina are closed, but the ramp remains available for use, with the public asked to maintain social distancing. Klaas says business inquiries about Port properties have ground to a near-halt over the last month. She notes one of the questions for the Port to address over the next few months will be how the agency’s work plan changes, noting she expects a renewed emphasis on business retention while continuing work on pushing for urban growth boundary expansion.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden today announced he will have a live on-line town hall hosted by the Town Hall Project at 10:30 Friday morning. Access to the town hall is available through the Town Hall project’s Facebook page. It is open to all Oregonians, but participation during this public health crisis from front-line health care workers, “essential” workers, recently unemployed Oregonians, small business owners, gig workers, parents of children out of school, or someone who’s experienced COVID-19 in their family is especially encouraged. Wyden has postponed in-person town halls until there are clear-cut public health guidelines that an open-to-all public meeting poses no unusual health risk for Oregonians.
Wasco County reported two new COVID-19 cases in numbers released on Saturday, the only ones reported in the Mid-Columbia region. Wasco County is now up to ten positive COVID-19 tests. Hood River and Skamania counties each reported one new COVID-19 case Friday. Health officials say Hood River County’s fourth person to test positive is an employee of Parkhurst Place Assisted Living. All staff and residents in contact with that person have been notified and are undergoing testing. County officials also confirmed all four cases identified have displayed what are considered to be mild symptoms of the virus and there have been no hospitalizations. According to a statement from Skamania County emergency officials, two of the three positive tested people in that countyr are currently hospitalized with the virus, and were from the same residence in the Carson area. Klickitat County’s numbers as of Saturday afternooon remained at 12 reported cases of COVID-19, while Sherman County has one and Gilliam County zero.
Local health care providers at Mid-Columbia Medical Center and One Community Health report they have expanded their capacity for testing symptomatic residents for infection with COVID-19. Individuals must still contact their primary care provider for evaluation and possible referral for testing. Those without primary care providers may call the clinics directly for evaluation and possible referral.
A woman was taken into custody Friday morning after a pursuit in Skamania County that ended with her vehicle crashing just east of the Bridge of the Gods entry on the Oregon side of the Columbia River According to the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy just coming on duty near eastbound milepost 12 in Clark County was passed by a car traveling at an estimated 110 miles per hour. The vehicle became airbone at a pair of roundabouts, and the deputy terminated the pursuit at milepost 21 because the driver was using both lanes of travel, and then observed the car nearly stopped at Cape Horn, but it accelerated again and clothing that had been lit on fire was being thrown out the window. Attempts by other deputies to stop the vehicle were unsuccessful, but a short time later the car was reported as crashing on the Oregon side of the river at the Bridge of the Gods. As the car caught fire the woman fled. 42-year-old Amie Maderos was later located and arrested in Washougal and lodged in the Skamania County Jail on felony eluding and several misdemeanor driving charges.
The Bridge of the Gods will be closed overnights Mondays through Thursdays from April 13 to May 12 for repair work. The Port of Cascade Locks says the bridge will be closed from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. on those nights to allow for bridge truss repairs needed after an overhead strike by a truck. The bridge will remain open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights throughout the project. Emergency response personnel will be allowed to access the bridge. Updates on the project and closure schedule will be available at portofcascadelocks.org.
Two people are in custody following a shooting Thursday night in the area of West 10th and Perkins in The Dalles. The Dalles Police Chief Pat Ashmore said their investigation is continuing, but confirmed that two suspects are in custody and no one suffered life threatening injuries. Police dispatch logs indicate it was a drive-by shooting, which Ashmore confirmed. The logs also showed the shooting occurred around 8:50 p.m. on Thursday. Ashmore indicated more information will be released by police and the Wasco County District Attorney’s office at a later time.