Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Quiz Salem's next city manager

June 10, 2022 at 2:59pm

Salem weekly Covid report for June 10: local cases falling, hospitalizations flat

Health care workers work in the intensive care unit at Salem Hospital on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

New Covid cases reported locally continued to fall this week but climbed statewide. Hospitalizations are holding about flat locally and regionally.

HOSPITAL CAPACITY

The average number of Covid patients at Salem Hospital is about the same as last week, and the hospital remains full.

As of Friday, June 10, the hospital had 23 inpatients with Covid and none in the ICU or on a ventilator. 

There were 494 of 494 licensed hospital beds in use. The hospital is able to care for more patients than it’s licensed for because of ongoing 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 23 and 28. Last week, Wood said the daily number was between 24 and 32 Covid inpatients.

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 53 people hospitalized with Covid as of June 9, compared with 48 the week prior and 58 two weeks ago.

CASES

The number of new Covid cases reported fell in Marion County but climbed statewide and in Polk County. This data is for the week ending June 8. 

Marion County: 100.4 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 201.4 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s down from 103.7 average daily cases for the week ending June 2 and 108.7 average daily cases the week ending May 25. 

12.1% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 12% last week.

Polk County: 29.3 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 244.6 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s up from an average of 28.6 daily cases the week ending June 2, but below 31.3 daily cases the week ending May 25.

10.4% of Covid tests this week were positive, down from 16.1% last week.

Oregon: 1,564.6 new cases per day on average, up from 1,462.6 average daily cases the week prior; 11.5% of tests positive, compared with 10.6% the week prior.

VACCINATION AND BREAKTHROUGH CASES

In May, the Oregon Health Authority had 44,363 Covid cases reported to the agency, according to a breakthrough case report released June 9. Of those, 21,100 (47.6%) were in people not vaccinated against Covid, and 23,246 (52.4%) were in people vaccinated. Some 14,506 cases, or 62.4%, were in people vaccinated and boosted against Covid. About 76% of Oregon adults are fully vaccinated against Covid, and 46% are boosted.

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

MANDATES

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

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

Correction: This post was updated to reflect that Region 2 had 53 people hospitalized with Covid as of June 9, not June 2. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

June 10, 2022 at 12:36pm

Bird flu detected in Polk County backyard flock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday the highly contagious disease confirmed in Polk County is easily transmitted among wild and domestic bird species. (Les Zaitz/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

A highly contagious avian flu was confirmed Thursday in a backyard flock of duck and geese in Polk County.

The flock's owner notified a private veterinarian after at least one bird suddenly died, and other birds in the flock were showing clinical signs consistent with the disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday.

The veterinarian sent a sample of the dead bird to Oregon State University and a preliminary test came back positive for the disease, officially confirmed Thursday by the department's National Veterinary Services Laboratory, according to a news release.

There are 60 birds in the affected flock. It's the first detection of the disease among poultry or hobbyist flocks in Polk County, and just the third in Oregon. It has never been detected in Marion County, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

The disease is transmitted easily among wild and domestic bird species, including through contact with infected wild and domestic birds and by contaminated equipment, clothing, and shoes of caretakers.

The Polk County flock was known to co-mingle with wild birds at a nearby pond, the news release said.

Symptoms include diarrhea, incoordination, lethargy, coughing and sneezing, and sudden death, though infected birds may not always show signs of infection.

The agriculture department asked those with domesticated backyard birds to increase their biosecurity and increase their birds separated from wild birds, especially waterfowl.

Anyone who has birds that appear sick or have died of respiratory or neurological disease should call the state Department of Agriculture at 503-986-4711, or the agency's sick bird hotline at 1-800-347-7028.

Those who see sick or dead wild birds should not collect or handle them, and should report them to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 866-968-2600 or [email protected].

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

June 10, 2022 at 11:14am

Salem announces three finalists for next city manager

Salem city manager finalists Keith Stahley (left), Taylor Adams (top right) and Eric Zimmerman (Submitted photos)

Salem City Councilors have selected three finalists for the city's next top executive.

Candidates Keith Stahley, Taylor Adams and Eric Zimmerman will be in Salem Wednesday, June 15, for a day of interviews with the mayor, city councilors, city department leaders and labor union leadership, according to a Friday news release.

The city manager is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the city and reports to the council. Salem's previous city manager, Steve Powers, retired Feb. 28 after six years with the city. Kristin Retherford, the city's urban development director, has been serving as interim city manager since.

All three finalists have prior experience in city leadership, and two are based in the Pacific Northwest, according to biographies released by the city.

Adams has been deputy city manager in Virginia Beach, Virginia since 2015 and was previously chief administrative officer in Starkville, Mississippi.

Stahley has served as assistant city manager in Olympia, Washington since 2019 and was previously the city's planning and development director for 14 years.

Zimmerman most recently worked at the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh as Oregon Bilateral Affairs Officer, and previously worked for Multnomah County, and as deputy city manager in Medford. He has served in the Oregon National Guard since 2007 and is currently assigned to a unit in Salem.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to ask questions ahead of a virtual public forum Wednesday evening. Submit a question by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 using the form here. The virtual forum will be livestreamed on YouTube by Capital Community Media at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and broadcast on channel 21.

Following the interviews, city councilors may visit each candidate's current home for a site visit before making a selection.

-Rachel Alexander