Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Covid cases continue slow climb

May 13, 2022 at 2:50pm

Fewer than 15% of eligible Marion County voters cast ballots ahead of May 17 primary

A ballot box in Marion County. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Fewer than 15% of registered voters in Marion County have cast ballots four days out from the May 17 primary election.

Marion County residents have returned 31,364 ballots, or 14.4% of 218,324 total registered voters in the county according to state Elections Division data updated Friday.

In the 2020 primary, eligible voters in Marion County cast 82,006 total ballots, giving the county 39.4% voter turnout.

Among eligible voters in the county, about 21% of Democrats (13,066), 20.8% of Republicans (12,785), 4.6% of nonaffiliated (3,779), and 13.5% of Independent (1,340) have cast ballots in this year's primary.

Polk County residents have returned 9,269 ballots, or 14.9% of 62,327 eligible voters.

In 2020, 43.5% of Polk County eligible voters cast a ballot, with 25,728 ballots returned in the May primary.

Among registered Polk County voters, about 20.3% of Democrats (3,586), 19.3% of Republicans (3,702), 6.6% of nonaffiliated (1,396), and 14.8% of Independent (475) have cast ballots in this year's primary.

If you still need to return you ballot, you can find a list of Marion County drop boxes here and Polk County here

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

May 13, 2022 at 1:05pm

Governor declares market disruption, allowing state regulators to investigate baby formula price gouging

A scoop of baby formula (Ajay Suresh/Wikimedia Commons)

Oregon regulators can act against baby formula price gouging following a Friday declaration by Gov. Kate Brown.

Brown on Friday declared an "abnormal market disruption" for baby formula amid a nationwide shortage. The governor acted following reports of "unusual increases in baby formula prices" and a request from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, according to a statement from the governor's office.

The declaration allows Rosenblum and the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate reports of price gouging and take action against businesses if they're found engaging in illegal trade practices.

“Many Oregon families across the state rely on baby formula to nourish their newborns and children, and it is critical that they can easily access this nutrition without abnormally increased prices,” Brown said in a statement.

Oregonians who believe they've been subjected to price gouging on baby formula can report it to the state's consumer protection hotline at 877-877-9392. Oregonians can also visit www.OregonConsumer.gov for more information.

-Rachel Alexander

May 13, 2022 at 12:02pm

Learn about local Pacific Islanders through school district event

Kathleen Jonathan, the Salem-Keizer School District's only Marshallese-speaking school outreach worker, meets with a family at their home in the fall of 2020 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Salem-Keizer School District leaders will host a virtual community event Monday evening to share stories and information from local Pacific Islanders.

The panel will feature two district outreach workers, Kathleen Jonathan and Chris Fuimaono, as well as Dr. Sandy Tsuneyoshi, former director of Asian and Pacific Islander American student services at Oregon State University, and Bennie Moses-Mesubed, dean for diversity, equity & inclusion at Columbia Basin College.

District students will also participate.

The event is intended to give an overview of the history and culture of various communities within the Pacific Islands. Pacific Islander students make up a growing share of the district's student body.

The session will be moderated by school board Chair Osvaldo Avila and Cynthia Richardson, the district's director of student equity, access and advancement.

The session is held over Zoom and runs May 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. More information and a link to access the session is available on the district website.

-Rachel Alexander

May 13, 2022 at 11:20am

Salem weekly Covid report for May 13: Local hospitalizations, cases continue to rise

Used masks fill a garbage can at Salem Hospital on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Covid cases continue to tick up in the Salem area and statewide, while average hospitalizations are up slightly at Salem Hospital. Here’s our report for May 13, 2022.


The average number of Covid patients at Salem Hospital is up slightly from last week.

Salem Health stopped publishing weekly reports on Covid inpatients on March 25 as the number has continued to decline. As of Friday, May 13, the hospital had 17 inpatients with Covid, two of whom were in the ICU, and none on a ventilator. 

There were 487 of 494 licensed hospital beds in use.

Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman, said the number of hospitalized Covid patients over the past week has remained between 12 and 17, consistent with regional numbers. Last week, Wood said the daily number was between eight and 16 Covid inpatients.

The graph below shows the hospital’s trends from the start of the delta surge until March 25, when weekly reporting stopped.

(Graphic by Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 29 people hospitalized with Covid as of May 12, compared with 22 the week prior and 20 two weeks ago.


The number of new Covid cases reported climbed statewide and in Marion and Polk Counties. This data is for the week ending May 11. 

Marion County: 75.3 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 151 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s up from 67.6 average daily cases for the week ending May 4, and 51.9 average daily cases the week ending April 27. 

6.4% of Covid tests this week were positive, unchanged from last week.

Polk County: 20 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 167.1 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s up slightly from an average of 18.4 daily cases the week ending May 4 and 12.7 daily cases the week ending April 27.

7.6% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 4.3% last week.

Oregon: 1,282 new cases per day on average, up from 1,217.9 average daily cases the week prior; 10.1% of tests positive, compared with 9.9% the week prior.


The Oregon Health Authority switched to a monthly report on breakthrough cases and will release its next report June 7.


Oregon’s mask mandate lifted on March 11 at 11:59 p.m.

-Rachel Alexander