KWSO News for 4/6/20

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Oregon Numbers increase as there have been 1068 positive cases as of yesterday Morning with more than 20 thousand tests administered. In Warm Springs, 12 tests have been given with 9 returning negative and 3 pending results. The 509-J school district is continuing their distribution of breakfast and lunch for children ages 1-18 at several locations throughout the school district. They will update their schoolwork this week and move on to the “Distance Learning for All” Project next Monday. Because not everyone has access to the internet – Warm Springs Telecom has set-up at 5 different locations for students and others to connect for homework or work-at-home assignments. You do need to call Warm Springs Telecom to get a password.

While the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs offices are shut down through this week due to the Coronavirus the Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center is open and wants to remind everyone that if you do go to the clinic, you will be stopped at the gate and asked about your health. They will direct you where you will need to go from there. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 they ask that you call the Nurse Triage hotline for advice. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council will be meeting this week to determine whether the shutdown of the tribes will be extended, meanwhile Indian Head Casino has extended their closure to May 1st and the Plateau Travel Plaza is open for business for fuel and retail operations. The game room is closed but the 3 teepees café is offering take-out orders only.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced $200 Million in Indian Housing Block Grants to American Indian Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities across the country to respond to COVID-19. This funding helps tribes carry out affordable housing activities to protect the safety and health of their tribal members and communities. Indian Housing Block Grants primarily benefit low-income American Indian families. The amount of each grant is based on a formula that considers local needs and housing units under management by the Tribe or Tribally Designated Housing Entities. In addition to this much needed funding, HUD announced that it began allocating more than $3 billion to help America’s low-income families and cutting the red tape so grantees can quickly help their communities.

While the coronavirus stimulus package will alleviate the burden for many Americans affected by the pandemic, an Oregon Congressman fears there’s confusion that could cause delays. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports: “Democratic Representative Peter DeFazio says the state employment department has an informative video for unemployed Oregonians that should be watched first before filing a claim.[BRIEF AMBI OF VIDEO HERE, FADE UNDER DEFAZIO] Peter DeFazio: “Because a lot of people are checking the wrong box, which is saying they’re not actively looking for work because they’re ‘home under an emergency’. That’s not the right box to check. And that will delay their benefits, it’ll require an interchange between them and the state.” DeFazio adds there’s also some confusion because of the extent of jobs being covered in this package. Peter DeFazio: “We have extended unemployment benefits to people who are self-employed, gig workers, and others who aren’t normally covered. So we need to get that word out.” DeFazio invites constituents to visit his official website for more information. [I’m Brian Bull reporting in Eugene.”

In a News Release from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, several state agencies are asking Oregonians to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning. The state agencies recognize that many Oregonians use fire as a necessary tool to manage their lands, however it’s important to weigh possible effects on the wider community before choosing to burn. Smoke from fires during the current pandemic may result in negative consequences for the public and first-responders, such as unnecessary testing or self isolation due to smoke inhalation, a severe shortage of personal protective equipment and the limited resources from emergency personnel to respond to out-of-control burns. While some people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, most patients recover at home, where smoke from a nearby outdoor burn could worsen their condition. If you must conduct outdoor burning, please first check with your local fire agency to see if outdoor burning is still allowed.

Former Redmond High School and University of Oregon Star basketball player Maarty Leunen has returned home to Redmond. As reported by the Bulletin, Leunen has been a professional in Italy for the past 10 years and decided to come home to Redmond as his Bologna team’s season was up in the air. Before arriving in New York, Leunen said he self-quarantined at his house in Bologna for 12 days, then drove four hours to Rome to catch his flight. He talked about the differences in a country in the throes of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and one just on the cusp. Italy remains the country with the most deaths from COVID-19 with more than 15 thousand deaths and counting. In Italy, Leunen says they remain vigilant with social distancing, where masks and gloves are everywhere, yet when he got to New York, social distancing wasn’t taken as seriously and there were hardly anyone wearing masks or gloves.

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