Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem won't require employees to get vaccinated against Covid

about 2 months ago

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Sept. 1, 2021

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

With Covid cases and hospitalizations climbing in Oregon, Salem Reporter is keeping you informed of the latest numbers. Here’s our report for Wednesday, Sept. 1.  

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 254

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 93

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 91 as of Wednesday morning, an increase of one from Tuesday. Of those, 21 are in the intensive care unit, and 15 are on ventilators. Seventy-eight of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 476 of 494 licensed beds in use

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 164, a decrease of three from Tuesday. Of those, 38 are in the intensive care unit and 17 are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 95 of 98 staffed ICU beds and 685 of 711 non-ICU beds in use

New Covid deaths reported: Twenty-three in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority reported deaths from Tuesday included four residents from Marion County and one from Polk, a 93-year-old man who tested positive on Aug. 14 and died on Aug. 29 at Salem Hospital. The presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed. 

Marion County residents who died are: 

-An 82-year-old man who tested positive on Aug. 18 and died on Aug. 23 at Santiam Hospital. 

-An 87-year-old woman who tested positive on Aug. 14 and died on Aug. 24 at her residence. 

-A 67-year-old man who tested positive on Aug. 21 and died on Aug. 26 at his residence. 

-A 68-year-old man who tested positive on Aug. 20 and died on Aug. 20 at his residence. 

All four had underlying health conditions. 

OHA had not published counties of residents and demographic information for Wednesday’s deaths by 3:30 p.m.

New Covid vaccines in Oregon: 4,218 new Covid vaccine doses administered on Aug. 31, including at least 2,517 first doses. 

Source: Oregon Health Authority, Salem Health

-Saphara Harrell

about 2 months ago

Thousands of Salem families will get $389 food payment for school meals

Fourth-grader Aliza Stapleton takes her lunch tray on May 20, 2019 at Englewood Elementary (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Nearly all children enrolled in Salem's public schools will get a $389 food payment from the State of Oregon, the Department of Human Services announced Wednesday.

The payment is an extension of Oregon's pandemic EBT benefits, often called food stamps. Any child who receives free or reduced price lunch at school will automatically receive a $129 payment in September and a $260 payment in October, said Vanessa Vanderzee, a spokesperson for the department.

The money is intended to cover school meals students didn't receive when schools were closed during the Covid pandemic.

Oregon previously mailed benefit cards to families of eligible students earlier in the summer and issued payments of up to $1,100 per child between July and September. Families don't need to do anything to receive the latest round of payments, which will be added to that card automatically.

Free school meals, largely funded by the federal government, are intended to ensure children from low-income families don't go hungry and can focus on schoolwork. Children normally qualify to receive those meals based on their household income. But schools where at least 40% of students qualify based on income can choose to offer free meals to all.

The Salem-Keizer School District has done that at 63 of its 65 schools, meaning nearly every child in Salem will receive the extra money. Only Candalaria Elementary School and Straub Middle School don't qualify.

The latest round of payments will go to about 430,000 children statewide, for a total of $167 million.

Families who no longer have the pandemic EBT card issued to them earlier in the summer can get a replacement by calling the EBT Card Replacement Hotline at 1-855-328-6715 or emailing [email protected]

-Rachel Alexander

about 2 months ago

Salem won't require employees get vaccinated against Covid

The city of Salem is not considering a Covid vaccination mandate for its employees.

Courtney Knox-Busch, city spokesperson, said the city is encouraging employees to get vaccinated and offering vaccine clinics but not requiring the Covid vaccine.

“We must also do our part to slow the spread of the Delta variant in our community. However, at this time, the city is not requiring vaccinations of employees who are not subject to that mandate,” she said in an email.

Firefighters are considered health care workers and are mandated by Gov. Kate Brown to get vaccinated by Oct. 18.

Greg Walsh, Salem’s emergency manager, said the Salem Fire Department isn’t concerned about losing employees because of the mandate.

He said the union representing Salem firefighters is on board with the mandate.

He said the biggest concern is having firefighters out of work because of exposure to Covid. He said if one firefighter gets sick with Covid, an entire crew could be out. 

On Tuesday, the city of Portland announced its employees would have to be vaccinated against Covid by Oct. 18 or lose their jobs.

-Saphara Harrell

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