KWSO News for Wed., Dec. 2, 2020

The Branch of Public Utilities has issued a public notice that there will be a temporary water shut off this Friday 8am – 5pm, effecting the trailer court subdivision.  They are installing and constructing a new water main that will serve a new housing area that has been fast tracked to serve as a quarantine site for COVID-19.   The areas known as “the dips” will see 7 modular trailers set up.  Ultimately these homes will be used to address the needs of homeless people who experience Substance Use Disorders and Serious Mental Health Disorders and also as 90 day transitional housing for folks returning from treatment.  But initially, using CARES act funding, the 7 FEMA trailers (that were obtained a few years ago by Housing) will be set up to allow COVID-19 impacted people to quarantine locally.  This might be for someone with coronavirus who doesn’t have a place to quarantine – or for members of large households who need to be separated to prevent the spread of illness.   They might be needed to isolate the person with coronavirus or it may be to separate an elder from a household where there is a positive case, to protect them from the illness.

There were 15 new cases of COVID-19 reported for Warm Springs in yesterday’s Community COVID-19 Update.  Those results were from 109 tests conducted on Monday (11/30/20).  There are 46 Active Cases of COVID-19 on the Reservation with 62 Close Contacts being monitored by Public Health.  Last week Warm Springs had a total of 35 new cases.

Due to the increase in coronavirus cases Warm Springs Tribal Council extended 50% staffing through December 11th and Tribal facilities will remain closed to the public.

Effective tomorrow, (12/03/20)  Oregon will implement a new Risk and Protection Framework for health and safety measured in four different risk levels for counties based on their level of COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk.  It looks like Jefferson County will be categorized as Extreme Risk and Starting Thursday – Counties at “Extreme Risk” will have restrictions including:

  • Indoor entertainment and recreational facilities like gyms and theaters will be closed
  • Restaurants and bars will be allowed outdoor dining only with a max of 6 people from no more than 2 households per table. Must close by 11pm and limited capacity to no more than 50 people
  • Long term care facilities will only allow outdoor visitations
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, retail stores and malls will be limited to 50% of maximum capacity with curbside pick up encouraged
  • Faith institutions, funeral homes, mortuaries, cemeteries will have no more than 150 people outside or 25% maximum capacity inside (limit of100 people)
  • Congregate homeless sheltering, Youth Programs, Childcare, K12 Schools, Higher Education, Drive in Operations and current Division 1 and Professional Athletics exemptions operate under sector specific guidance for all risk levels.

Oregon reported 24 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high for a single day in the state. The agency said the “grim milestone” of the record daily number underscores that people should wear masks, keep physical distance and keep gatherings small. Officials in Silverton are trying to monitor a potential outbreak among firefighters. One official there says the situation has underscored a weakness in Oregon’s response to the pandemic: a lack of a system for getting first responders tested rapidly.