Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Weekly Covid report shows local hospitalizations ticking up

May 6, 2022 at 2:44pm

City cancels First Friday amphitheater concert due to thunderstorm forecast

The Gerry Frank | Salem Rotary Amphitheater is lit for the first time on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Salem will have to wait a little longer for its first concert at the new amphitheater in Riverfront Park.

City officials decided to call off a planned First Friday Concert at the Gerry Frank | Salem Rotary Amphitheater set for 8 p.m. Friday due to concerns about high water following rain, according to a city Facebook post. The concert was to feature Salem band Pachanga.

"This decision was made earlier in the week due to the forecast calling for thunder and lightening," said city spokeswoman Courtney Knox-Busch in an email.

Free monthly concerts at the amphitheater featuring local bands remain scheduled at 8 p.m. on the first Friday of each month from June through September. They're intended to help city employees learn about the new venue's acoustics while providing free entertainment to residents.

-Rachel Alexander

May 6, 2022 at 2:11pm

Word of Mouth reopening May 12 under new ownership

Word of Mouth Bistro in central Salem. Owners Becky and Steve Mucha announced their retirement and the restaurant's closure April 9, but former employees bought the restaurant and are re-opening it. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Salemites who have been missing the crème brûlée French toast, Plate O’ Love or lemon poppy seed pancake from Word of Mouth Bistro are in luck.

The iconic Salem brunch restaurant announced this week it would reopen Thursday, May 12 after a brief hiatus. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Word of Mouth was mostly closed for dining in during the pandemic, but opened briefly in late 2021 before closing again in February. The closure was initially announced as temporary and eventually permanent when previous owners Becky and Steve Mucha announced their retirement in early April.

New owners Mychal Arredondo and Nicole Murphy bought the restaurant from the Muchas last month.

Murphy was previously a manger at Word of Mouth and hired Arredando, now her fiancée, in 2015. He went on to work there as a waiter, bartender and cook.

Longtime Word of Mouth employees Nicole Murphy, left, and Mychal Arredondo bought the restaurant in April and are planning a May reopening. (Courtesy/Word of Mouth)

Arredondo said Becky Mucha trained him in the kitchen after Steve began having health problems, and he learned to make the restaurant’s pancakes, French toast, sandwiches and potatoes.

Word of Mouth is located in a green house at 140 17th St. N.E. Since opening in 2008, it's become known for its generously portioned dishes and favorites like the Plate O' Love, which includes French toast and corned beef or veggie hash.

"I couldn’t be more excited to see you all there, and to be bringing back all the magic you know and love," a post on the restaurant's Facebook said Tuesday. "We are still planning on our exact specials for that week, however I can promise we will have Becky’s amazing lemon poppyseed pancakes on that Saturday. Plan your week accordingly."

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

May 6, 2022 at 11:04am

Salem weekly Covid report for May 6: Local hospitalizations climb as cases rise

Empty beds in the hallway of the emergency room at Salem Hospital (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Covid cases are ticking up in the Salem area and statewide, while average hospitalizations are up at Salem Hospital. Here’s our report for May 6, 2022.


The number of Covid patients at Salem Hospital is climbing again.

Salem Health stopped publishing weekly reports on Covid inpatients on March 25 as the number has continued to decline. As of Friday, May 6, the hospital had 14 inpatients with Covid, five of whom were in the ICU, and three on a ventilator. 

There were 495 of 494 licensed hospital beds in use. The hospital is able to have more patients than it’s licensed for under emergency declarations related to the pandemic.

Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman, said the number of hospitalized Covid patients over the past week has remained between eight and 16. “The rise in cases is consistent with county and statewide increases,” Wood said.

The graph below shows the hospital’s trends from the start of the delta surge until March 25, when weekly reporting stopped.

(Graphic by Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 22 people hospitalized with Covid as of May 5, compared with 20 the week prior and 21 two weeks ago.


The number of new Covid cases reported climbed statewide and in Marion and Polk Counties. This data is for the week ending May 4. 

Marion County: 67.6 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 135.5 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s up from 51.9 average daily cases for the week ending April 27, and 35 average daily cases the week ending April 20. 

6.4% of Covid tests this week were positive, unchanged from last week.

Polk County: 18.4 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 153.9 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s up slightly from an average of 12.7 daily cases the week ending April 27 and 12.4 daily cases the week ending April 20.

7.6% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 4.3% last week.

Oregon: 1,217.9 new cases per day on average, up from 896 average daily cases the week prior; 9.9% of tests positive, compared with 7.6% the week prior.


In April, Oregon Health Authority had 18,608 Covid cases reported to the agency, according to a breakthrough case report released May 5. Of those, 8,815 (47.4%) were in people not vaccinated against Covid, and 9,769 (52.5%) were in people vaccinated. Some 6,142 cases, or 33%, were in people vaccinated and boosted against Covid. About 76% of Oregon adults are fully vaccinated against Covid, and 45% are boosted.

The rate of Covid infection in unvaccinated Oregonians in April was double the rate in vaccinated Oregonians, the report said. The Oregon Health Authority will release its next breakthrough case report June 7.


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

-Rachel Alexander