In one never-ending week, the world has transformed in ways most of us have never experienced before. Here in Bend and throughout the state, the order is to self-quarantine and save the tests for those who need it most. The coronavirus took the life of the first Oregonian on Friday, a 70-year-old man at the Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in Portland. Younger generations are terrified for their parents and older relatives and friends. The first of a long line of layoffs have begun beginning in the service industry, and working families may struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table without a massive program of state and federal assistance. This may come down to simply sending checks to everyone with a social security number. If you find yourself in a state of confusion and disbelief, you're in good company.
- By Laurel Brauns
- Highland Magnet School at Kenwood School on Newport Avenue sits vacant Tuesday morning. Gov. Brown announced Tuesday that schools will now be closed through April 28.
Here at the Source, we've been publishing almost hourly updates on our homepage to help our community of readers stay informed with the most accurate and up-to-date information we can find. In light of this, between now and the time it takes to print the paper, much more may be revealed.
Here's a quick roundup of the latest news since March 11, when officials from Deschutes County Public Health announced Central Oregon's first case of the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday morning, there are four reported cases of COVID-19 in Deschutes County and 51 in Oregon.
The City of Bend, Deschutes County, the State of Oregon and the U.S. are currently operating under a state of emergency. Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that public K-12 schools are now closed through April 28. Bend-La Pine Schools and other local districts are serving free "grab and go" meals Monday through Friday while schools are closed. On Monday, Brown ordered all bars and restaurants in Oregon switch to a carry-out and/or a delivery-only model. This announcement came with new guidelines to limit gatherings to 25 people or fewer with a suggestion to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer. Grocery, retail and other workplaces are exempt from the 25-person limit.
The rules are intended to enforce social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, because as health officials underlined Monday, Oregon may not have enough hospital beds to manage the projected surge in cases that could come pouring into hospitals in the next few weeks. While the governor has not explicitly ordered gyms and other workout facilities to shut, the implication is that every business should try to adhere to the spirit of the "take out" model to the best of their ability.
St. Charles Health System announced Monday more measures to promote social distancing. Visitors are not allowed in any of the system's four hospitals and its St. Charles Bend Community Pharmacy now has drive-up service available from 11am to 6pm. St. Charles has limited testing capacity: only people with a fever of 100.4 or more with a cough and shortness of breath who are over 60 years of age with immunosuppression or a chronic illness can be tested at the hospital.
Meanwhile, nearly everything in Central Oregon is closed and cancelled. Mt. Bachelor closed Sunday through March 22. Deschutes County Library will not reopen until at least April 1, but it is increasing its collection of digital materials which will still be available to people with a library card and an internet connection. BendBroadband announced yesterday it will suspend disconnections and late fees for those unable to pay their bills for the next 60 days, and offers free service to low-income homes and anyone with kids in need.
The Facebook Group Pandemic Partners-Bend has created an online gathering place for people willing to provide assistance to others, with nearly 7,000 members and growing every day. Anyone in need can post their request on the page.