Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Oregon resumes co-pays for state subsidized day care

about 1 month ago

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Oct. 22, 2021

A screengrab of a chart showing the number of Covid-positive patients hospitalized in the region which includes Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.

As Covid hospitalizations continue to decline, this will be Salem Reporter’s last day reporting case and hospitalization information daily. Here’s our report for Friday, Oct. 22.

Oregon Health Authority released its latest COVID-19 forecast Thursday projecting a continued decline in daily cases and hospitalizations through early November.

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 118

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 37

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 48 as of Friday morning, a decrease of seven from Thursday. Of those, nine are in the intensive care unit, and two are on ventilators. 

Forty-one of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 499 patients; the hospital is licensed for 494 beds

Salem Hospital is able to expand care beyond licensed bed capacity through waivers tied to the federal emergency declaration. 

“Throughout this surge we have prioritized flexibility, creating new spaces for patients beyond traditional care areas and utilizing double occupancy rooms. We continue to make room for all patients who need care, but today’s numbers continue to underscore the seriousness of the persistent surge even as it declines,” hospital spokesperson Lisa Wood explained in an email.

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 78, a decrease of 10 from Thursday. Of those, 18 are in the intensive care unit and two are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 86 of 91 staffed ICU beds and 554 of 570 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid deaths reported: 10

Six Marion County deaths were reported Thursday. They are: 

A 62-year-old man who tested positive on Oct. 14 and died on Oct. 18 at Salem Hospital. 

A 93-year-old man who tested positive on Oct. 4 and died on Oct. 14 at his residence.

A 61-year-old man who tested positive on Oct. 3 and died on Oct. 16 at Salem Hospital. 

A 74-year-old man who tested positive on Sept. 26 and died on Oct.16 at Santiam Hospital. 

An 83-year-old man who tested positive on Sept. 23 and died on Oct. 18 at Salem Hospital. 

A 76-year-old man who tested positive on Sept. 23 and died on Oct. 15 at Salem Hospital. 

All had underlying conditions.

No Polk County deaths were reported. 

The Oregon Health Authority said it will begin reporting hundreds of deaths that occurred between May and August, but only recently became known to state epidemiologists due to a technical computer error. 

Reported Covid deaths will be higher than usual as a result until the backlog of 550 deaths is resolved. 

New Covid vaccines in Oregon: 5,323 new Covid vaccine doses on Oct. 20, including 842 first doses, 922 second doses and 3,477 third doses. 

Source: Oregon Health Authority, Salem Health

Our team will keep an eye on Covid data and report those numbers when warranted. Reach out to Rachel Alexander [email protected] or Saphara Harrell [email protected] if there are specific metrics you’d like to see us report on. 

-Saphara Harrell

about 1 month ago

Grant funding available for organizations serving underrepresented businesses

Up to $9 million in grants will be available for organizations that provide technical assistance to historically underrepresented and under-resourced businesses across the state, Business Oregon announced last week.

Underrepresented business owners include people who are Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, immigrants, people with disabilities and farmworkers, among others.

The program was established by the 2021 Oregon Legislature and builds on a federally funded program intended to help businesses respond to the pandemic last year.

Business Oregon is currently seeking applications for the 2021-23 grant cycle from service providers who can demonstrate authentic connections to their clients and extend and enhance the availability of services targeted to underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Technical assistance includes business plan review and assistance, marketing and brand identity, technology services, access to capital and business coaching.

Applications are due by Monday, Nov. 15. Detailed program information and the application materials can be found at https://www.oregon4biz.com/Innovate-&-Create/. 

Last year, Business Oregon awarded funding to 23 statewide organizations “who both reflected and responded to the unique needs of Oregon’s diverse small business community.”

-Saphara Harrell

about 1 month ago

Co-pays resume for some Oregon families getting state subsidies for child care

Jaxson Bidema tosses a ball to Kylie O'Dell while attending the Kroc Center's daycare for the children of essential workers on Wednesday, April 22. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregon families receiving state subsidies to pay for child care got temporary help during the pandemic as the state waived monthly co-pays.

Now, co-pays are resuming, but families will pay less than they did before the pandemic, the state Department of Human Services announced Thursday.

The change affects about 1,100 families in Marion and Polk counties who get help through the Employment Related Day Care program, which is intended to help working parents cover the cost of child care. Statewide, about 8,200 families are affected, including 672 in Salem.

Most participating families are single parents with two children, said Jake Sunderland, a spokesperson for the department. He said the department was able to offer families child care subsidies without a co-pay through Sept. 30 thanks to a change in federal rules.

Starting in October, the average family will have a $16 monthly copay, and no family in the program will pay more than $130 per month for child care. A family of three earning less than $21,960 per year would pay nothing.

Prior to the pandemic, the lowest possible child care copay was $27, and the average family paid $250, the department said.

“For many families the cost of child care can be a barrier to entering and staying connected to the workforce,” said Dan Haun, director of the human services department’s self-sufficiency programs, in a prepared statement. “This copay decrease will support working families across Oregon as they continue to deal with the many challenges facing families in today’s world.”

Families can see the new co-pay amounts on the department website and learn more about the program here.

-Rachel Alexander