PORTLAND, Ore. — WANT TO SEE THE LATEST UPDATES? New info is here. See below for updates through the morning of March 18.
Cases of COVID-19, a new strain of coronavirus, began popping up in the United States in January. On Feb. 28, the first case in Oregon was announced.
As of Wednesday morning, 65 cases in Oregon and two deaths have been reported, including a Lane County woman in her 60s who tested positive for COVID-19 after her death. The medical examiner’s office will determine her official cause of death.
In Washington, there have been 52 deaths among at least 1,012 people who tested positive for the virus.
Each week, we will post a new blog that tracks the daily changes in Oregon and Southwest Washington as we get them.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18
- Governor Kate Brown announces the state has signed a contract with a private provider to bring 20,000 more COVID-19 tests to Oregon. Learn more
- Kaiser Permanente Northwest will temporarily close clinics and medical offices in the Portland area Thursday to prepare for an expected surge of patients infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. Learn more
- Oregon's Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response will hold its first public meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. KGW will live stream the meeting right here.
- Landlords concerned with Multnomah County eviction moratorium: "Little bit of a gut punch initially," said Ken Schriver with Rental Housing Alliance Oregon. He said plenty of landlords rely on rent to pay their own bills. "We have to make sure we don't shift the burden of the load from one side to the other." Learn more
- Restaurant layoffs have left thousands of Oregonians wondering if they qualify for state unemployment. Here's what to do if you've lost your job.
- Worldwide cases top 200,000 and there are confirmed cases in each of the 50 states. Get real-time national and global updates here
TUESDAY, MARCH 17
- Suspected coronavirus death in Lane County: A woman who died on March 14 at a Springfield hospital has tested positive for COVID-19. She was tested for the coronavirus after her death and the test came back positive, the county said. Learn more
- Oregon schools to remain closed through April 28: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown extended the statewide school closure through April 28 in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Brown signed an executive order lengthening the school closure to a total of six weeks. She initially announced a two-week closure that would have ended March 31. Learn more
- Timbers, Thorns to pay part-time workers: The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC on Tuesday announced they will pay part-time workers for games missed due to cancellation during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more
- Safeway and Albertsons are hiring: Safeway and Albertson stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington are looking to hire people immediately. The positions range from in-store to distribution center roles, as well as home delivery drivers. Learn more
- Visits to Oregon care centers restricted: All visits to care centers in Oregon were restricted to protect people who are at higher risk of having severe symptoms of COVID-19. Exceptions will be made for essential medical and emergency personnel, and "visitors to residents who are in the end of life." Learn more
- 4 more deaths, 108 more cases in Washington: Washington state has topped 1,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.There have now been 52 deaths among at least 1,012 cases of the virus in Washington state, according to data from the Washington State Department of Health. The death toll increased by four people from Monday, and cases jumped by 108 people. Learn more
- Oregon announces 18 additional cases: Oregon health officials on Tuesday announced 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the state. Oregon now has a total of 65 people who have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. One of those people, a 70-year-old man, has died. Learn more
- Oregon DMV suspends all driving tests through March 31:The agency is also planning on ways to limit the number of customers in an office at one time to 25. Learn more
- Portland-area malls remain open: Three area malls say they will remain open during the outbreak. Clackamas Town Center, Lloyd Center and Washington Square all confirmed to KGW they will stay open, although some mall shopping hours may temporarily change.
- Spirit Mountain, Chinook Winds casinos close: Two Oregon casinos announced they will close until at least the end of March in response to the outbreak.
- McMenamins closes locations, lays off nearly 3,000: McMenamins announced it will temporarily close the doors of all but one of its locations in Oregon and Washington for the next several weeks. The company also laid off nearly 3,000 employees to allow them to file for unemployment benefits during the outbreak. The company says the layoffs are drastic, but necessary to "ensure that there will be jobs to come back to when this extraordinary episode ends." Learn more
- First two deaths from COVID-19 in Clark County: A husband and wife, both in their 80s, died Monday night after testing positive for COVID-19 last week in Clark County, officials announced Tuesday morning. These are the first deaths from coronavirus in Clark County. Learn more
- Surge of COVID-19 patients at area hospitals expected in next two weeks: Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said that based on early modeling, a surge in COVID-19 patients needing hospital care is expected to begin in the next 1-2 weeks. She also said she expects area and statewide supplies of disposable protective equipment like gloves, protective eyewear, gowns and masks to be depleted in about two weeks. Learn more
- Multnomah County leaders announce eviction moratorium: Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced a moratorium on rental evictions in the county while the county remains in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. Kafoury said people will have 6 months to pay back what they owe once the state of emergency is lifted. Learn more
MONDAY, MARCH 16
- Four more residents of Oregon Veterans' Home test positive for COVID-19: The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs announces late Monday that four more residents of the home in Lebanon, Oregon, have tested positive. The home now has a total of 13 residents with presumptive positive cases. Twelve of the residents are veterans, and one is a veteran's spouse.One staff member has also tested positive. The cases will be added to the Oregon Health Authority's total on Tuesday. Learn more
- 8 more coronavirus cases reported in Oregon; statewide total now at 47: Eight more people, across six counties, in Oregon test positive for COVID-19. There are two new cases in Benton and Deschutes counties, and one new case in Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties. Learn more
- 48 coronavirus deaths among 904 cases in Washington: More coronavirus cases are announced as there are now 904 cases in the state, including 48 people who have died. Learn more
- OHSU says coronavirus testing more likely next week, not now: OHSU Hospital hopes to roll out in-house coronavirus testing and lab analysis by March 25, if not sooner. If the March 25 timeframe holds, it’s about a week later than hospital officials originally hoped for. Learn more
- Alarmed by projections of virus’ spread, Oregon hospitals team up for expanded role: In an unprecedented move, the Portland area’s four major health systems say they are uniting to form a regional health system “to implement a coordinated response” to the virus. Learn more
- Oregon Gov. Brown announces shutdown of restaurants, bars, gatherings of 25+ people: During a press conference, Gov. Kate Brown announces that beginning March 17, there will be no in-person dining at restaurants and bars. Takeout and delivery will still be available. She also says gatherings of 25 or more people are banned. These restrictions are in place for four weeks. Grocery stores, pharmacies, retail stores and workplaces are excluded, although the governor asks employers to allow workers to do their job from home. Learn more
- Regal closing all theaters starting Tuesday: Regal announces it will be closing all its theater locations starting March 17 as a precaution amid the coronavirus outbreak. All theaters will remain closed until further notice. Learn more
- Amazon looks to hire 100,000 to keep up with orders amid coronavirus pandemic: Amazon says it needs to hire 100,000 people across the U.S. to keep up with a crush of orders as the coronavirus spreads and keeps more people at home, shopping online. The online retailer will also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees, who work at its warehouses, delivery centers and Whole Foods grocery stores. Learn more
- White House encourages people to stay home, avoid groups larger than 10: During a press conference, President Trump says his administration "strongly recommends" Americans to avoid groups bigger than 10, discretionary travel, eating at restaurants and bars and food courts and do schooling from home. Learn more
- Comcast offers free WiFi hotspots, unlimited data, waives late fees during coronavirus outbreak: Comcast says it will offer Xfinity WiFi free for everyone, with hotspots available to all, including non-Xfinity subscribers. To access the service, look for the “xfinitywifi” network name in a list of hotspots. For more information, go to www.xfinity.com/wifi. Learn more
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces statewide shutdown of bars and restaurants: In the states latest attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, restaurants, bars, theaters and clubs are temporarily shut down. Restaurants will be allowed to have take-out and delivery services, but no in-person dining. Learn more
- Fourth case of COVID-19 in Clark County: A fourth person in Clark County has tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced Monday morning. In this case, a woman in her 40s tested positive for the coronavirus. She had close contact with a person in Oregon who also tested positive, according to Clark County public health spokeswoman Marissa Armstrong. Learn more
- Portland's City Central Concern one of the recipients of $1 million donation from Kaiser: National health care provider Kaiser Permanente is donating $1 million to support coronavirus prevention and treatment for homeless people across the country. One of the initial recipients is Portland's Central City Concern, which will receive $100,000 in funding. Learn more
- Oregon Gov. Brown weighing curfew for restaurants and bars: During a conference call with the media Monday morning, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she hasn't decided yet whether she'll enact a curfew on restaurants and bars. The governor first mentioned the possibility of a curfew during a conversation with reporters on Sunday night. Learn more