Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Marion County businesses can apply for grants to help cover Covid expenses

August 18, 2021 at 4:17pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Aug. 18, 2021

Oregon Health Authority's graph showing people hospitalized with Covid in Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties as of Aug. 18, 2021.

All of the staffed intensive care unit beds in region 2, which includes Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, are in use Wednesday.

With Covid cases and hospitalizations climbing in Oregon, Salem Reporter is keeping you informed of the latest numbers. Here’s our report for Wednesday, Aug. 18. 

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 194

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 68

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 82 as of Wednesday morning, an increase of four from Tuesday. Of those, 18 are in the intensive care unit, and 13 are on ventilators. Sixty-eight of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid.

Wednesday's number is the hospital's second-highest count of Covid patients since the pandemic began. Salem Hospital recorded 83 Covid patients on Saturday, Aug. 14.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 488 of 494 licensed beds in use

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 133, an increase of seven from Tuesday. Of those, 33 are in the intensive care unit and 18 are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 93 of 93 staffed ICU beds and 682 of 698 non-ICU beds in use

New Covid deaths reported: 11 in Oregon. They include three Marion County residents: a 70-year-old woman who died Aug. 12, and 74-year-old woman and 90-year-old man who died Aug. 16. All died at Salem Hospital and had underlying health conditions. 

The Oregon Health Authority also published demographic information for the 15 Covid deaths reported Tuesday. One was a 94-year-old woman from Marion County who tested positive for Covid on Aug. 4 and died on Aug. 15 at Salem Hospital.

New Covid vaccines in Oregon: 4,025 new Covid vaccine doses administered on Aug. 17, including at least 2,711 first doses.

Source: Oregon Health Authority, Salem Health

Correction: This article initially listed the total number of both confirmed and suspected Covid patients in Region 2 hospitals, rather than only those had tested positive for Covid. We have updated the number for consistency with our other daily reports. Salem Reporter regrets the error.

-Saphara Harrell

August 18, 2021 at 12:01pm

Oregon students who refuse to wear masks can't attend school in person, state says

Fourth grade teacher Stephanie Madison works with student Jacob Class on the first day back to in-person school for fourth and fifth grade students at Myers Elementary School on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregon school districts can't offer classes in-person to students who won't wear masks, the Oregon Department of Education said Tuesday.

The department updated its guidelines and recommendations for school district Covid protocols Aug. 17, adding an expectation that districts work with families in cases where students or family members refuse to wear a mask at school for reasons other than a disability or medical need.

But the document was clear that unmasked students can't attend classes in-person.

"In the case that a student or family chooses not to wear a face covering for reasons other than medical need or disability, schools should follow district processes to determine how to respond keeping in mind both the responsibility for health and safety and the student’s need to access education," the guidelines read. "Conversations should be progressive and lead to resolution that ideally does not involve suspension. Schools cannot serve a student in-person if they or their family choose not to wear a face covering. Schools may offer a remote or online school option for the student."

It's unclear how the rule will play out practically, particularly if a large number of students or parents won't wear masks. The Salem-Keizer School District offers an online program called EDGE, but spots were nearly full as of Aug. 16, with no more high school slots available.

-Rachel Alexander

August 18, 2021 at 10:48am

Marion County businesses can apply for grants to help cover Covid expenses

Marion County businesses now have a chance to apply for grants to cover expenditures related to Covid.


Applications opened Tuesday. The grants are first come, first served and applicants can receive up to $3,700. Receiving previous CARES Act funds does not disqualify businesses from this grant. 

Businesses must be headquartered in Oregon, have primary operations in Marion County, not have other funding assistance from private lending institutions or federal resources and be registered with the Secretary of State.

Applications take about 25 minutes to complete and applicants are asked to upload proof of any previous CARES Act funding their business has received. This includes funding for Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan-Advance. 

Polk County is also currently accepting business grant applications through Aug. 31. More information is available on the Willamette Workforce Partnership website.

-Saphara Harrell