Local News That Matters

UPDATES: The latest Covid data shows hospitalizations continue falling

March 25, 2022 at 3:39pm

AGENDA: Salem City Council meets to consider new Meyer Farm subdivision proposal

Salem City Council Chambers. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council meets Monday to consider a new application for the Meyer Farm subdivision proposal, appointments to community boards and changes to the current fiscal year budget.

AGENDA

The council will consider appointing Oni Marchbanks, Mel Gregg and Elizabeth Infante to the Community Police Review Board, and reappoint Lori Lassen and Carlos Flores. They will consider appointing Tracy Powell and Grant Yoder as alternates.

They will also consider appointing Jessa Miller the Downtown Advisory Board, Miranda Seble to the Salem Cultural and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board, and Susan Napack to the Salem Public Art Commission.

Council members will consider allocating around $7.6 million for the city's fiscal year 2022 budget for unanticipated costs including a Community Sanitation Response Team, construction for a planned navigation center and a program for replanting trees damaged during the February 2021 ice storm.

They will also consider a modified application for a 139-lot subdivision at 4540 Pringle Rd. S.E., the Meyer Farm property, after on Feb. 28 denying the planning administrator's decision to approve it.

How to participate: View the meeting on YouTube or watch on CC:Media Channel 21. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m. on the day of the meeting at [email protected] Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Pre-register between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

March 25, 2022 at 1:19pm

How should Oregon spend millions on wildfire recovery? State officials want your input

Fresh flowers sit on top of a burned car in Gates on Sunday, September 20, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

State officials are asking Oregonians to weigh in on how the state should spend millions in federal wildfire recovery money. 

More than 4,000 Oregon homes were destroyed by severe wildfires in 2020, according to the state Office of Emergency Management. Much of the $422 million federal grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department will be used to replace lost homes, but the state can also use some of the money to repair or rebuild public infrastructure or to rebuild the local economy.

The Oregon Housing and Community Services Department is running an online survey seeking input on how to spend the money. Oregonians will also be able to share feedback on the eventual plan in May. 

Alex Campbell, chief external affairs officer for Recovery and Resiliency at the department, said in a statement that state employees are especially interested in hearing from older Oregonians, Latinos and people with disabilities who have specific housing needs. 

“We are looking for public input, because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s the ‘Oregon Way,’ and we know it will make the plan better.”

The federal funding follows $150 million that the state Legislature allocated in 2021 for housing in the counties most affected by the 2020 fires. Jackson County, in particular, lost more than 2,300 homes, most of which were manufactured homes in 18 mobile home parks destroyed by the Almeda fire. 

About 280 studio apartments are set to open in Jackson County by June, according to the Housing and Community Services Department. Another 687 affordable homes in Douglas, Jackson, Klamath and Lane counties will begin housing people by the end of the year.

-Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

March 25, 2022 at 12:05pm

Salem weekly Covid report for March 25: cases, hospitalizations continue falling

Salem Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The number of cases and Covid hospitalizations are continuing to fall. 

Here’s our report for March 25, 2022. 

HOSPITAL CAPACITY

Salem Hospital and the mid-Willamette region have reported a decline in both the number of Covid-positive inpatients and the total number of hospital patients over the past week.

As of Friday, the hospital has 455 total inpatients, 92% of its total capacity of 494 people. Pre-pandemic, Salem Hospital was typically 80 to 85% full, hospital leaders have said.

On Friday, the hospital recorded three Covid inpatients. 

Salem Health has stopped reporting Covid vaccination status in its weekly updates as impatient numbers decline.

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 22 people hospitalized with Covid as of March 24, compared with 25 the week prior.

VACCINATION AND BREAKTHROUGH CASES

For the week of March 19, 37.7% of all Covid cases were in people vaccinated against Covid, according to the state’s most recent breakthrough case report. About 75% of Oregon adults are vaccinated against Covid.

Of vaccinated people who contracted Covid, 52.7% had received a booster shot. 

The rate of Covid infection among unvaccinated Oregonians was 3.7 times higher than vaccinated Oregonians, and 4.3 times higher than Oregonians who had also received a booster shot.

MANDATES

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

CASES

The number of new Covid cases reported locally has continued falling in the past week. This data is for the week ending March 23. 

Marion County: 15 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 30.9 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s down from 26 average daily cases for the week ending March 16. 

2.7% of Covid tests this week were positive.

Polk County: Four new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 32.2 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s down from an average of five daily cases the week prior. 

4.2% of Covid tests this week were positive.

Oregon: 247 new cases per day on average, a rate of 40.51 cases per 100,000 residents, with 3% of tests positive.

-Saphara Harrell