Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem schools cap audience capacity for theater, music events

January 19, 2022 at 4:38pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Jan. 19, 2022

A screengrab of a graph showing the daily number of Covid cases in Marion County.

As Covid hospitalizations continue to rise again due to the omicron variant, Salem Reporter is again publishing case and hospitalization information daily. Here’s our report for Wednesday, Jan. 19.

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 87 as of Tuesday morning, seven fewer than Tuesday.    

Of those, seven are in the intensive care unit, and one is on a ventilator. 

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

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 493 patients; the hospital is licensed for 494 beds

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 137. Of those, 12 are in the intensive care unit and four are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 80 of 83 staffed ICU beds and 535 of 556 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 1,031

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 268

New Covid deaths reported: 15 in Oregon

-Saphara Harrell

January 19, 2022 at 3:14pm

Man arrested in stabbing at Marion Square Park Monday night

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem police on Tuesday arrested a man charged with stabbing another man at Marion Square Park.

Jacob Joseph Cook, 22, stands charged with first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon in Marion County Circuit Court, court records show.

Monday night, Salem Police Department officers responded to a report of a stabbing at the downtown Salem park, a Wednesday news release said.

Officers from the department's Community Action Unit, which patrols the downtown area on bicycle, found a man with a stab wound in his back. Paramedics after arriving transported the man to Salem Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the news release said.

Both Cook and the victim are homeless, said Lt. Debbie Aguilar, Salem police spokeswoman.

Officers reached leads after interviewing the victim and witnesses. They arrested Cook Tuesday and booked him into the Marion County Jail.

Cook previously pleaded guilty in October 2019 to aggravated harassment and assaulting a public safety officer in Marion County Circuit Court and was sentenced to two months in state Department of Corrections custody, according to court records.

He later pleaded guilty in March 2020 to attempting to assault a public safety officer, menacing and unlawful possession of methamphetamine in Polk County and was sentenced to five months in jail.

Cook pleaded guilty in January 2021 to not returning to the Marion County Jail after being given a pass for medical treatment and giving false information to a peace officer in Marion County. That same day, he was sentenced to 14 months in prison for violating probation in the 2019 case, court records showed.

Cook was released from the Oregon State Penitentiary in mid-December and had a warrant issued Dec. 22 for an existing parole violation. Salem police arrested him Dec. 28, and he was released from the Marion County Jail Jan. 12

"The stabbing incident at the park occurred five days later," the news release said.

“Patrol and (community action unit) officers worked swiftly to make an arrest in this incident,” said Lt. Treven Upkes, who oversees the unit, in the news release. “Our officers patrol the parks as often as possible to create a presence and make the parks safer for everyone, including those who may be experiencing homelessness and living at encampments.”

This post was updated after Salem police provided additional information about Cook and the victim.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

January 19, 2022 at 12:31pm

Salem schools cap audience at 50% capacity for music, theater events

Students sing during a Unified Musical Theater performance at Judson Middle School on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

In a change to Covid protocols, audiences for school music and theater performances will now be capped at half capacity, the Salem-Keizer School District said.

The announcement late last week is one of several district officials taken during the omicron wave of Covid infections to limit the number of people at school events without stopping sports, performing arts or other extracurricular activities at local schools.

The change is intended to allow for more space between audience members in theaters and auditoriums.

Existing district rules require students to wear masks in class and while rehearsing for band, choir and theater performances, unless the student plays a wind instrument. Students do not need to wear masks while performing.

District officials on Jan. 11. limited the number of spectators allowed per student at indoor basketball games, and wrestling and swim meets.

-Rachel Alexander