As COVID-19 infections slowly climb, health officials continue to express concerns that smoke from wildfires across the Pacific Northwest could affect recovery for people infected with the virus. Evacuating from fires while battling the coronavirus also comes with its own set of concerns.
“The first priority in wildfire situations is responding to the evacuation and safety instructions of local and state fire officials — and heeding their warnings. Regardless of disease status, if you are asked or ordered to evacuate, you should do so,” the Oregon Health Authority said in a press release Thursday.
The agency also asked people evacuating while quarantining to take these precautions:
- If you have time, reach out to your local public health authority, who should have already been in contact with you about your isolation or quarantine. They may have solutions to help you continue to remain isolated if you must evacuate.
- If you are directed to a shelter or other evacuation space, let officials know you are in isolation or quarantine so that they can take steps to keep you distanced from other evacuees.
- Wear a mask at all times when outside your home, or if you may come into contact with people who do not live with you.
- If you are an older adult or a person with disabilities, reach out to the Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection for information about resources at 1-855-673-2372.
- Practice physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, if you must travel outside your home for any reason, including evacuation.
Extra step required for some people to receive extra COVID-era unemployment benefit
Out-of-work Oregonians hoping to get an extra $300 on their weekly unemployment benefits may need to take an extra step to start receiving those funds.
For people getting unemployment through the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the extra payment authorized by executive order of President Donald Trump should appear automatically.
But people receiving regular benefits, or the extra 13 weeks of payments under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, need to go online to certify they’ve lost work because of the pandemic.
The state has six weeks’ worth of federal funding. People qualify if they received unemployment benefits between July 26 and Sept. 5. Payments are expected to begin later this month.
Umatilla County allowed to ease COVID-19 restrictions
Umatilla County is allowed to relax some coronavirus restrictions, effective immediately, the East Oregonian reported Friday.
That’s a reversal from last week, when Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority rejected the county’s application to enter Phase 2 of reopening. At the time, they said the county had more than 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and did not meet other state metrics for easing restrictions.
Oregon’s coronavirus death toll nears 500
The Oregon Health Authority reported two more deaths to COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the pandemic’s…