The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Oregon Beach Weather
Today– Rain, mainly after 10am. High near 57. Breezy, with a south southeast wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Friday– Rain likely before 10am, then a chance of showers, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56. North northwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Saturday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 54. North northeast wind 5 to 7 mph.
Sunday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
Monday– Rain likely, mainly after 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 56.
Green Crabs a Growing Problem Along Coastline
The number of invasive green crabs in the Coos Bay region continues to grow – and are likely to impact Dungeness crabs and coastal habitat, according to a new report by researchers at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Green crabs are a growing problem in Coos Bay and other estuaries along the Oregon Coast.
Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable commercial fishery. Between June and September of this year, the researchers trapped and sampled crab populations daily at 13 sites around Coos Bay. On average, 73.3% of crab species trapped each day were green crabs.
The report is part of an ongoing study by scientists from the South Slough Reserve and Oregon State University.
Researchers at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve released a report documenting efforts to track the invasive green crab population, which could be a threat to the commercially important Dungeness crab fishery.
But researchers produced a second document to accompany the report: A cookbook.
DOWNLOAD COOKBOOK HERE: https://www.oregon.gov/dsl/SS/Documents/GreenCrabManagement_CulinaryGuide.pdf
“Coastal residents and visitors can help reduce the environmental impacts of green crabs by catching and removing this invasive species from coastal waters,” the Department of State Lands said.
Researchers put together a culinary guide with information opn preparing and cooking green crabs. Recipes include green crab soup stock, green crab risotto, and more.
“Green crabs may vary in color from green to yellow or orange. They have five spines on each side of their shells and three bumps between their eyes,” the state said. “Always check for these identifying marks before removing possible green crabs. Green crabs can be brought to the nearest Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office or taken home and eaten.”
Dr. Sylvia Yamada, an assistant professor at Oregon State University, said the rise in green crabs measured in Coos Bay reflects what is happening in other estuaries along the Oregon coast.
“All estuaries follow similar trends,” Yamada said. “In the past, green crab larvae were carried in warm ocean currents to Oregon from established populations in California. Now that green crabs are abundant in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, there is evidence some larvae are coming from the north, while others are reproducing locally. This doesn’t bode well for the future unless we get a series of years when the water is colder.”
Oregon reports 996 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 19 new deaths
More than seven in 10 people in Oregon have now received at least one vaccine dose
There are 19 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,873, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today. See “Cases and COVID-19 deaths” section below for a correction.
OHA reported 996 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 381,842.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (17), Clackamas (118), Clatsop (3), Columbia (18), Coos (25), Crook (29), Curry (4), Deschutes (93), Douglas (35), Gilliam (2), Grant (1), Hood River (16), Jackson (72), Jefferson (8), Josephine (26), Klamath (31), Lake (6), Lane (56), Lincoln (18), Linn (41), Malheur (6), Marion (82), Morrow (6), Multnomah (107), Polk (29), Tillamook (5), Umatilla (10), Union (4), Wallowa (1), Wasco (12), Washington (80), Wheeler (4) and Yamhill (24).
Correction: Oregon’s 4,847th and 4,805th COVID-19 related deaths, reported on Nov. 17 and Nov. 16 respectively, were identified to be the same person. Because of this update, we are renumbering our reports to start with 4,855 today.
Seventy percent of all Oregonians have received a COVID-19 shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than seven in 10 people in Oregon of all age groups have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. As of today, 2,951,568 Oregonians have received a shot. (The CDC’s data differs from Oregon’s, because it accounts for vaccines administered through federal facilities that may not report to Oregon.)
Oregon now ranks 19th among U.S. states and the District of Columbia for the percentage of its total population who are protected by at least one dose of a vaccine. It also ranks 19th among all states and the District of Columbia in the administration of booster doses.
Oregon’s total population vaccination percentage has grown with the recent authorization for children ages five to 11 years to receive the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. As of today, nearly 40,000 five-to-11-year-olds have received at least the initial vaccine dose, which accounts for 11% of all children in that age range.
“Having 70% of all those eligible and living in Oregon vaccinated is great news, especially as we head into the holiday season when families and friends will more likely be gathering together,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, deputy state epidemiologist, OHA. “OHA urges everyone in Oregon five years and older to get fully vaccinated, so we can better protect everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable, including older adults, our youngest children and people with compromised immune systems.”
Update on test positivity reported on Nov. 16, 2021
Health officials continue to examine the causes, including potential technical issues, that resulted in the 14% test positivity rate reported yesterday. Today’s test positivity rate is 6.5%.
Update to vaccination metrics dashboard tab
OHA has updated the vaccination metrics dashboard’s time to completion tab, which tracks weeks to completion of the primary series for people who have received the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine.
When the dashboard incorporated third and booster doses (as any extra dose), an error occurred in the data processing.
That error made it show that 100% of people who initiated with Moderna or Pfizer completed the series within eight weeks.
OHA has corrected the data processing error and the updated data show 98% of people who received an initial vaccination completed their series.
An example chart is below:
COVID-19 weekly cases, deaths and hospitalizations decline
OHA’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows a decrease in daily cases, deaths and hospitalizations.
OHA reported 5,839 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Nov. 14. That represents a 12% decrease from the previous week. The decrease occurred, however, in the context of a 17% decrease in testing.
OHA is continuing to investigate technical issues that occurred last weekend, including problems with a server that caused a backlog of electronic laboratory reports (ELRs) waiting to be processed. This backlog played a role in the decrease in total tests reported relative to the previous week. There were 111,898 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Nov. 7 through Nov. 13. The percentage of positive tests rose slightly to 6.5%, up from 6.4% the previous week.
The overall incidence of reported COVID-19 in Oregon varied by county vaccination rate, but continues to be less in counties with higher vaccination rates and the lowest in the five counties where the vaccination rates were more than 70%.
There were 356 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from 378 last week.
There were 183 reported COVID-19-related deaths, down from 243 reported the previous week. The past two weeks of data for COVID-19 related deaths also reflect ongoing data reconciliation of COVID-19-related deaths that primarily occurred from May to August 2021, as reported last month.
Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 69 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.
Oregon Could Eliminate Quarantines for Students with ‘Test-To-Stay’ Program
K-12 schools should soon all but eliminate the need to quarantine students who’ve been exposed to COVID-19, the director of the Oregon Department of Education said Wednesday.
Director Colt Gill said he hopes the state will be able to implement a “test-to-stay” program by the end of November. That means unvaccinated students, who have been required to stay home from school for seven to 14 days because they’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, will instead be allowed to attend school in person as long as they test negative.
The tests will be paid for by the state, using federal coronavirus relief money, and free to students. Students will be tested immediately after it’s determined they have been exposed, then a second time near or at the seven-day mark, Gill said.
In testing students just twice during a week-long span, Oregon’s programs would differ dramatically from many others in the U.S., where students are swabbed a minimum of every other day using rapid tests. In Georgia, exposed students are tested daily for seven days. In Massachusetts, it’s every day for at least five days. But Washington only requires two tests over seven days.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the test-to-stay model as “a promising practice,” it hasn’t endorsed it or recommended how frequently students should be tested and over what period of time.
When The Oregonian/OregonLive asked Oregon Department of Education officials on Wednesday why they aren’t opting for more frequent testing, they couldn’t immediately provide an answer.
Gill announced the program’s rollout to a state legislative committee overseeing Oregon’s COVID-19 response.
It’s unclear if the program actually will begin by the end of the month. Officials with some of the largest districts in the state haven’t announced any plans to start test-to-stay programs in the next two weeks.
Officials at Portland Public Schools didn’t respond to a query Wednesday. Shellie Bailey-Shah, a Beaverton schools spokesperson, said the district’s test-to-stay start date will depend on test availability. Spokesperson Beth Graser said Hillsboro schools “stand ready to participate in programs that are made available to us” but she thinks districts need more information and direction from the state.
Gill told legislators that a lack of testing supplies has been holding back the program’s launch.
“Governor Brown, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Ed have been advocating with our federal partners to get an adequate supply and a stable supply of tests going forward,” Gill said. “We think we have that nearly in place.”
The new program would “reduce or nearly eliminate quarantines for students,” Gill said. Students would need parental permission to participate.
However, Gill stressed that the best solution for avoiding quarantines is getting vaccinated.
Students who are fully vaccinated but exposed to someone with COVID-19 can remain in school without testing or quarantining as long as they remain symptom-free. It’s worth noting that the CDC says vaccinated people who’ve been exposed should get tested five to seven days later, even if they exhibit no symptoms.
The requirement that unvaccinated students quarantine after exposure has caused major disruptions to the learning process this school year. Although state education officials didn’t respond Wednesday to provide a statewide figure, more than 3,300 students in Portland Public Schools have been directed to quarantine for periods of up to 10 days or more since the start of the academic year in September. However, that number could be an overcount because some of the 3,300 reported quarantines might be of students who were told to stay home multiple times.
There also have been a series of high profile quarantine incidents. In early September, between 40 to 50 students at both Duniway Elementary in Southeast Portland and Hallinan Elementary in Lake Oswego were forced to quarantine in separate incidents after riding school buses with someone who was infected. Later that month, 2,700-student Reynolds High School in Troutdale temporarily shutdown in-person learning after educators determined a third of students might have come into close contact with four contagious people. In September and October, a second grader in the North Clackamas School District missed out on a total of 16 days of school because he was exposed to different COVID-19 cases twice.
Oregon pays more than $141 million in federal emergency rental assistance
Nearly 21,000 households have received funds to pay rent
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and Local Program Administrators (LPAs) continue to make strong progress on processing applications for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP).
As of today, OHCS and LPAs have paid $141.3 million in federal emergency rental assistance to 20,962 applicants, up from $130.6 million and 19,613 applicants last week. The agency is ranked 7th in the nation in the percentage of funds paid and obligated.
OHCS announced last week a pause in accepting new applications for the OERAP program for six weeks, starting on Dec. 1, at 11:59 p.m. Anyone who has fallen behind on rent or may get behind on December rent is encouraged to apply for emergency rental assistance right away, but before Dec. 1 at 11:59 p.m. at oregonrentalassistance.org.
Progress and Updated Numbers
Through its three-point plan, OHCS and its processing partner, Public Partnerships LLC (PPL), have made significant strides to drive rapid application processing in the past several weeks. Currently, 105 PPL staff are processing applications on behalf of counties with applications outside the 60-/90-day safe harbor period. In the past week, PPL processed close to 700 applications, exceeding their 500-application target. PPL is currently onboarding and training an additional 45 staff who will begin processing next week.
To date, OHCS and LPAs have:
- Paid $141,384,835 to landlords and tenants to help – over $20 million in the past two weeks alone – 20,962 Oregon households
- Processed and obligated an additional $29.6 million in funds for 3,544 households.
- Received more than $373.3 million in funding requests via applications.
- Received more than 49,939 completed applications.
Visit the OERAP dashboard for more data.
Applications in Review Process
About 20,219 applications are in the review process. Our agency is tracking when a tenant completes an OERAP application and the number of applicants that have not been paid outside of the 60-day window (90 days in Multnomah County and unincorporated areas of Washington County). The 60-/90-day window of protection begins when a tenant shows proof they applied for the program. However, this data is not currently available. Applications outside the 60-/90-day window are being moved from the LPA in their county to PPL.
This graph below shows the geographic areas with the highest numbers of applications outside the 60- and 90-day windows of protection as of Nov. 17. This graph does not include applications outside the 60-/90-day window from counties that received ERA funding directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Below is a graphic that shows average application processing times for each county for the OERAP program as of this week
Multnomah County is not included in this as a comparison because they have a 90-day window. Their average processing time is 75 days. On average, PPL processed applications within an estimated 57 days from when they received the application. Improvements are underway to track PPL processing times that take into account they are taking old applications, rather than taking applications as they come in like LPAs.
Oregon Changing Licensing Requirement to Deal With Shortage of Substitute Teachers Statewide
The lack of substitute teachers, on top of the regular staff shortages that schools are experiencing, has prompted action at the state level to help local school districts draw more people into the pool. The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission made a temporary rule last month loosening the requirements for people to be a substitute teacher in the state.
The temporary rule allows people to get an emergency substitute license with the sponsorship of a district. The license is similar to a standard substitute license; however, this license can be granted to people who do not have a bachelor’s degree and is only valid within the sponsoring school district for the remainder of this school year or six months (whichever is later), according to the rule.
The sponsoring school district has to provide these substitutes with enhanced support and administrative supervision. Additionally, people with this type of license can only fill absences for “single assignments that will not be longer than 10 consecutive days,” according to commission documents. Oregon has experienced a substantial decrease in the number of individuals holding substitute licenses since the pandemic began, according to Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
Portland Using Its Emergency Water Supply System
Portland is using its emergency water supply system rather than the Bull Run watershed after a toppled tree damaged a treatment plant east of the city. The Portland Water Bureau said it began using safe-to-drink groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field on Monday, when a windstorm sent a tall evergreen crashing into the bureau’s Lusted Hill facility in Gresham.
The impact battered the roof and interior of the building and broke the facility’s corrosion treatment equipment, said bureau spokeswoman Jaymee Cuti. Cuti was unable to say how much it would cost to fix the damage and didn’t know when they would switch back over to Portland’s primary water supply, which is drawn from Bull Run Lake near Mt. Hood.
The city has switched to water from the Columbia South Shore Well Field 43 times since 1985. Water officials said climate change will likely increase Portland’s reliance on its emergency water supply system.
Will We See Historic Lunar Eclipse in Oregon Tonight?
The Beaver Moon partial lunar eclipse is coming Thursday night into Friday morning, but will Oregonians actually be able to see it? The forecast says… not likely. Rain and clouds are expected to cover Oregon on Thursday night, as well as much of the Pacific Northwest, according to a forecast by the National Weather Service.
That should obscure the partial lunar eclipse from view, as well as the tail end of the Leonid meteor shower that is coinciding with the eclipse. John Bumgardner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, said sky watchers could try to drive out to eastern Oregon, which tends to have clearer skies, but even there, chances would be slim.
The partial lunar eclipse will peak in the early hours of Nov. 19, according to NASA forecasts, turning the moon a deep shade of red as the earth’s shadow falls across it. The near-total eclipse will shadow 97% of the moon’s surface.
The best time to view it is during its partial eclipse phase, between 11:19 p.m. Thursday and 2:47 a.m. Friday, with the maximum eclipse taking place just after 1 a.m. – if you’re in a place where you can see it, that is. Livestreams will be available for those unable to see it locally, including one hosted by Time and Date.