WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Sen. Merkley and others want Uncle Sam to launch war on Covid-19

As Coronavirus Cases Skyrocket, Merkley, Colleagues Push for federal intervention to Increase National Production of Testing Supplies and Personal Protective Equipment

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, along with 24 of his Senate colleagues, is introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 (NDAA) today that would require President Trump to unlock the full authority and power of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to scale up nationwide production of the testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and medical equipment needed at the local level to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The DPA was first passed in 1950 to authorize the president to undertake actions to boost domestic manufacturing of goods in extraordinary circumstances. In 2009, Congress extended that authority to include domestic preparedness and national emergency response efforts.

“Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis only seems to be accelerating,” said Merkley. “Even if the White House would rather just wish the pandemic away, as leaders, Congress can’t bury our heads in the sand and do nothing. We need to use every tool at our disposal—including the Defense Production Act—to make widespread testing available and make sure our frontline workers and health facilities have the supplies they need to treat our communities and protect their own health.”

Although President Trump announced months ago that he would invoke the DPA, he never followed through—despite urgent calls for action and a direct request from Senator Merkley and his colleagues. Senator Merkley previously teamed up with his colleagues to introduce the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act,legislation to require the president to utilize all available authorities under the DPA to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic through an equitable and transparent process.

Key parts of the legislation are included in the House-passed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solution (HEROES) Act, but the Republican majority in the Senate has refused to consider the legislation. Two weeks ago, Senator Merkley led a group of 19 lawmakers in urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the HEROES Act to the Senate floor for a debate and vote.

The NDAA is being considered on the Senate floor this week.

Senator Merkley was joined in supporting the amendment by its author, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Fireworks…fun yet dangerous…

Fireworks courtesy Wikipedia…

Help Prevent Fires this Summer from Fireworks and Sky Lanterns

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s West Oregon District will start Fire Season and Public Use Restrictions (Regulated Use) on Monday July 6, 2020. This affects the majority of Polk, Benton, Lincoln, and southern Yamhill Counties.

The sale of legal fireworks has begun in Oregon. We would like to remind residents of the hazards that fireworks pose. The improper use of legal and illegal fireworks poses a risk to personal safety and property. Unintentional wildfires, damages to structures and property from fireworks and preventable injuries from fireworks can be avoided with planning and awareness.

With elevated risks of wildland fire throughout much of the Pacific Northwest this summer, many fire jurisdictions are concerned about responding to accidental fires caused by fireworks use. With public gatherings closed throughout both states, including public fireworks displays and community festivals and parades, fire officials are asking the public to please refrain from informal large gatherings that may involve fireworks use.

For residents who purchase legal fireworks, please consider the following:
Use only legal fireworks and use them only in areas that allow them (check with your local jurisdiction if you are unsure).
Prepare a bucket of water or keep a garden hose nearby before lighting fireworks.
Keep children and pets at a safe distance from fireworks.
Fireworks have a recommended safe distance labeled on their packages – use these recommendations.
Never re-light a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak unexploded fireworks in water before disposing.

For those planning to get outdoors for the Fourth of July on public lands that are still open to the public, please keep your fireworks at home. Many private landowners do not allow entry onto their lands without a permit. Possessing or using fireworks or explosives (including exploding targets), are illegal in:
National parks
National forests
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands
U.S. Fish and Wildfire properties
State-protected beaches, state parks and campgrounds

Sky lanterns, also known as wish lanterns and Chinese lanterns, consist of a paper or cloth sack suspended over a flame, usually from a candle. Such devices pose fire and safety hazards, as they have the potential to start an unintended fire, on or off the property from which they are released. These lanterns are illegal in Washington and Oregon at all times.

Please stay healthy and safe as you celebrate Independence Day.

Local Contact information:
Benton County: Oregon Department of Forestry in Philomath – (541) 929-3266
Lincoln County: Oregon Department of Forestry in Toledo – (541) 336-2273
Polk and Southern Yamhill County: Oregon Department of Forestry in Dallas – (503) 934-8146

Covid-19 resources available for Newport & Lincoln Co. residents

Corona Virus

Wide range of COVID-19 resources available for Newport, Lincoln County residents

By Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039, steve.lundeberg@oregonstate.edu
Source: Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

This news release is available online: https://beav.es/4yN
Photos/video: https://oregonstate.box.com/v/trace-media-resources

NEWPORT, Ore. – Public health leaders in Lincoln County offer a range of resources to help community members in Newport and throughout the county address the risk of COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Lincoln County Health & Human Services reminds everyone that safety begins with physical distancing, hand-washing and the use of face coverings in public spaces. The county will distribute face coverings for free today from 3 to 7 p.m. at nine locations on a drive-through basis.

Information about face coverings, public health services and COVID-19 is available by calling the county’s call center at 541-265-0621 or by emailing LINCOLNCOCALLCENTER@CO.LINCOLN.OR.US. The call center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., has Spanish speakers on staff and will also provide interpreter services for speakers of other languages.

Anyone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, needs help getting access to testing, has been instructed to quarantine or needs assistance of any other kind, including feeling anxious or isolated, is urged to contact the call center. People suffering a mental health crisis related to COVID-19 or for any other reason are encouraged to call a counseling center recommended by the county at 866-266-0288.

“The OSU TRACE study confirmed what we have been seeing in our case investigations,” said Rebecca Austen, Lincoln County health department director. “We have families without insurance or benefits suffering significant economic hardship. Children and grandparents in families are ill. We as individuals need to buckle down and focus on what we know will prevent the spread of the virus. We as a community need to do our part and protect others by following the guidance we’ve been saying for months: Physical distance, protect others with a face covering, and keep clean by washing your hands frequently.”

Symptoms of COVID-19, in addition to fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, and loss of smell and/or taste, are now known to include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, you should quarantine for 14 days, and get tested if symptoms develop, health officials say.

If you have tested positive, isolate for 10 days from others in your home. If you develop symptoms, isolate for 10 days after the symptoms begin and three more days after they’ve passed.

General information about the virus can be found on Lincoln County Health & Human Services’ COVID-19 web page. The county health department also has a site dedicated to public information updates.

“The results of Oregon State University’s TRACE study in Lincoln County are very concerning and suggest the need for residents to take action to halt the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases for the Oregon Health Authority. “If infections in Lincoln County continue to circulate at these rates, far more people risk getting sick. To prevent this, people must take the advice to wear a face covering in public, stay 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with and limit or eliminate any gatherings.

“I also remind people to answer the call if the health authority calls to let you know you may have been exposed to the virus,” Cieslak said, regarding Lincoln County’s contract tracing services.

Samaritan Health Services, which operates a hospital and multiple clinics in Newport, is offering drive-through coronavirus testing in Depoe Bay and Waldport with a clinician’s order.

Samaritan offers the following guidance to those who want or need a COVID-19 test:

If you are a Samaritan patient and have a MyChart account, do a MyChart E-Visit, which is free if you choose the visit type “Coronavirus Concerns.” A clinician will review the information you provide and order testing as needed.
If you are new to Samaritan Health Services, call 855-543-2780. Staff will assist you in creating a MyChart account so you may complete an E-Visit.
Call your primary care provider so they can assess your symptoms and order testing as needed. Do not go to your primary care provider’s clinic if you think you have coronavirus symptoms.
If you think you need to go to the hospital, call before going.
If you have life-threatening symptoms, call 911.

Questions about the Samaritan testing sites can be emailed to COVIDtest@samhealth.org.

How many people in Lincoln County area actually carrying Covid-19?

Corona Virus

Preliminary results from door-to-door sampling by Oregon State University suggest that 3.4% of the Newport community had the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on June 20-21.

The study, Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics, known as TRACE-COVID-19 for short, began in Corvallis the weekend of April 25-26.

In Newport, 30 two-person field teams canvased 30 neighborhoods, with 336 of the households visited, or 71%, agreeing to participate. In all, the field workers received samples from 569 people, and 13 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Our results indicate the virus is relatively prevalent in Newport,” said Ben Dalziel, assistant professor in the College of Science at OSU and co-director of the project. “We know this because previously undiagnosed infected individuals are present in a random sample of participating households across the city. This indicates the potential for significant further spread unless strong actions are taken to reverse the course of COVID-19 in Newport.”

Newport’s population is 10,600, comprising roughly 20% of the nearly 50,000 people who live in Lincoln County. In announcing prevalence results, the TRACE team follows reporting policies used by the Oregon Health Authority and local health departments.

“This kind of random sampling gives us a type of data we don’t have, and we will be working with OHA and OSU to understand how to incorporate this into the data tools we currently use,” said Lincoln County Commissioner Kaety Jacobson. “We will also be looking at the feasibility and cost of doing further sampling studies like this one.”

The TRACE study is a collaboration of the OSU colleges of Science, Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Public Health and Human Sciences, and the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine – in partnership with county health officials.

“We are grateful to the many Newport residents who were willing to participate in TRACE,” said Jeff Bethel, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and a member of the TRACE leadership team. “The high participation rate gives us confidence that our findings are robust and a good indication of how widespread the virus causing COVID-19 is in the general population of Newport. Information about community prevalence of the virus adds to the information already gathered by health officials.”

The results mean that all residents should pay close attention to guidance provided by health officials, such as the statewide face-covering mandate that begins on Wednesday, said Javier Nieto, dean of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Services and one of TRACE’s leaders.

“Other measures such as social distancing and avoiding large gatherings will also help slow the spread of the virus,” Nieto said. “It is particularly important that individuals who have symptoms or tested positive follow state and county health guidelines such as self-isolating and seeking medical care.”

The TRACE study originated in Corvallis and included four weekends of random neighborhood sampling. TRACE moved to include Bend on May 30-31 and then expanded to Newport three weeks later following the positive tests of more than 120 workers at Pacific Seafood, which operates five processing facilities in the city.

TRACE uses a statistical model based on the number of samples, the number of positive tests and prior information on the prevalence of the virus to estimate the proportion of the community that is infected during the period when the samples were collected.

“TRACE does two things,” Dalziel said. “First, we find and get help to participants who are infected but do not know they are, which reduces the chances of these folks unknowingly spreading the virus to other people. Second, we estimate how widespread the virus is in the general population, which informs public health strategies.”

The study was initially funded by OSU and a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and has been aided by work from the OSU Foundation and the OSU Alumni Association. Funding from PacificSource Health Plans has allowed for the expansion to Bend and Newport, and additional sampling in Corvallis.

“The Newport TRACE data reinforces the continuing need for heightened care by all citizens to take precautionary actions – wearing face coverings and social distancing, even when among friends,” said Bob Cowen, director of the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center.

At each home visited by TRACE field workers, members of the household are invited to participate in the study. Those who choose to take part are asked to provide information such as their name and date of birth; to fill out a simple consent form; and to answer a few confidential, health-related questions.

Participants are given a nasal-swab test kit that they administer to themselves inside their home and their minor children if they want them to take part. The field staff wait outside, and the participants leave the completed test kits outside their front door. Field staff maintain a safe distance at all times and do not enter anyone’s home.

The tests used in TRACE-COVID-19 collect material from the entrance of the nose and are more comfortable and less invasive than the tests that collect secretions from the throat and the back of the nose.

The field workers leave participants with information about the project and how they will receive their results – available in seven to 10 days – as well as health guidance from county health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participants in the study are sent their results and those of their minor children by secure email with receipt by standard mail delivery as a backup. Everyone’s personal information is safeguarded.

The diagnostic testing component of TRACE operates through a partnership between the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which is located at OSU, and Willamette Valley Toxicology.
For more information about TRACE, visit the TRACE-COVID-19 website. The site includes a list of frequently asked questions.

COVID-19, first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, 2019, has been confirmed in more than 10 million people worldwide and has killed more than 503,000 people. In the United States, there have been more than 2.5 million reported cases – including more than 8,100 in Oregon – and more than 126,000 deaths nationwide. Lincoln County has had 300 confirmed cases and two deaths.

“The tally of cases already reported by health officials tells us how many people are known to be sick with COVID-19,” Bethel said. “This number is well understood to underestimate the actual number of infected individuals because it misses asymptomatic individuals and people who have not sought testing or do not have access to testing. In contrast, the TRACE estimate of prevalence tells us about the fraction of individuals in Newport who are infected – whether or not they have symptoms, and whether or not they have access to testing. Public health and elected officials need this kind of information to plan and deploy resources.”

In addition to TRACE sampling, other OSU researchers collected sewage samples from Newport’s wastewater system the same weekend. Those samples are still being analyzed.

The fourth and final weekend of TRACE sampling in Corvallis, originally scheduled for May 16-17, took place June 13-14 to help determine if the easing of stay-at-home orders leads to a jump in the prevalence of the virus in the Corvallis community. Those results are also pending.

The first three weeks of sampling in Corvallis each suggested a prevalence of between one and two cases per 1,000 people.

I get by with a little help from my friends…

Corona Virus

NEWPORT, Ore. – Public health leaders in Lincoln County offer a range of resources to help community members in Newport and throughout the county address the risk of COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Lincoln County Health & Human Services reminds everyone that safety begins with physical distancing, hand-washing and the use of face coverings in public spaces. The county will distribute face coverings for free today from 3 to 7 p.m. at nine locations on a drive-through basis.

Information about face coverings, public health services and COVID-19 is available by calling the county’s call center at 541-265-0621 or by emailing LINCOLNCOCALLCENTER@CO.LINCOLN.OR.US. The call center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., has Spanish speakers on staff and will also provide interpreter services for speakers of other languages.

Anyone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, needs help getting access to testing, has been instructed to quarantine or needs assistance of any other kind, including feeling anxious or isolated, is urged to contact the call center. People suffering a mental health crisis related to COVID-19 or for any other reason are encouraged to call a counseling center recommended by the county at 866-266-0288.

“The OSU TRACE study confirmed what we have been seeing in our case investigations,” said Rebecca Austen, Lincoln County health department director. “We have families without insurance or benefits suffering significant economic hardship. Children and grandparents in families are ill. We as individuals need to buckle down and focus on what we know will prevent the spread of the virus. We as a community need to do our part and protect others by following the guidance we’ve been saying for months: Physical distance, protect others with a face covering, and keep clean by washing your hands frequently.”

Symptoms of COVID-19, in addition to fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, and loss of smell and/or taste, are now known to include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, you should quarantine for 14 days, and get tested if symptoms develop, health officials say.

If you have tested positive, isolate for 10 days from others in your home. If you develop symptoms, isolate for 10 days after the symptoms begin and three more days after they’ve passed.

General information about the virus can be found on Lincoln County Health & Human Services’ COVID-19 web page. The county health department also has a site dedicated to public information updates.

“The results of Oregon State University’s TRACE study in Lincoln County are very concerning and suggest the need for residents to take action to halt the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases for the Oregon Health Authority. “If infections in Lincoln County continue to circulate at these rates, far more people risk getting sick. To prevent this, people must take the advice to wear a face covering in public, stay 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with and limit or eliminate any gatherings.

“I also remind people to answer the call if the health authority calls to let you know you may have been exposed to the virus,” Cieslak said, regarding Lincoln County’s contract tracing services.

Samaritan Health Services, which operates a hospital and multiple clinics in Newport, is offering drive-through coronavirus testing in Depoe Bay and Waldport with a clinician’s order.

Samaritan offers the following guidance to those who want or need a COVID-19 test:

If you are a Samaritan patient and have a MyChart account, do a MyChart E-Visit, which is free if you choose the visit type “Coronavirus Concerns.” A clinician will review the information you provide and order testing as needed.
If you are new to Samaritan Health Services, call 855-543-2780. Staff will assist you in creating a MyChart account so you may complete an E-Visit.
Call your primary care provider so they can assess your symptoms and order testing as needed. Do not go to your primary care provider’s clinic if you think you have coronavirus symptoms.
If you think you need to go to the hospital, call before going.
If you have life-threatening symptoms, call 911.

Questions about the Samaritan testing sites can be emailed to COVIDtest@samhealth.org.

Below is a list of other online information pages regarding COVID-19 that Lincoln County residents may find useful. Many are available in multiple languages:
* Know the Facts on COVID-19.
* How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19.
* Physical Distancing.
* Combatting Stigma.
* Resources on Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 from the National Center for Farmworker Health.
* The Oregon State University Extension Service is another source of general COVID-19 information in Lincoln County in both English and Spanish. Questions can be directed to Beatrice Botello, program assistant, at Beatriz.Botello@oregonstate.edu.

Botello is involved with a project called Listos, which distributes public health materials among Latinx and Spanish-speaking community members in the county.

Dusti Linnell, OSU assistant professor of practice for Extension in Lincoln and Tillamook counties, is ramping up family and community health communications via social media and radio and through other classes that reinforce guidance from the OHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The communications include information about face coverings, physical distancing, limiting social gatherings and high-speed handwashing for workplaces.

“This is the time for all members of the Newport and Lincoln County community to support each other and take part in public health measures to protect themselves and to protect others,” said Javier Nieto, dean of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and part of the TRACE leadership team. “Following public health recommendations is the most effective way to keep your family, your friends and the entire community healthy.”

Numbers of Covid-19 cases climbing in Oregon…including deaths from those suffering pre-existing medical conditions

Oregon reports 181 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 3 new deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. — COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 207, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 181 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 8,656.

The new cases reported today are in the following counties: Clackamas (19), Coos (1), Deschutes (10), Jackson (5), Jefferson (12), Josephine (2), Klamath (3), Lake (2), Lane (7), Lincoln (3), Linn (4), Malheur (7), Marion (25), Multnomah (38), Polk (2), Umatilla (9), Union (10), Wasco (1), Washington (18), and Yamhill (3).

Oregon’s 205th COVID-19 death is a 74-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive on June 18 and died on June 29, in his residence. He had underlying medical conditions.

Oregon’s 206th COVID-19 death is a 93-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive on June 19 and died on June 29, at Salem Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions.  

Oregon’s 207th COVID-19 death is a 66-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive on June 12 and died on June 27, at Salem Hospital. She had underlying medical conditions.

NEWPORT!! EMERGENCY WATER RESTRICTIONS IN EFFECT!!!

Newport Water Treatment Plant is struggling – reduce your water usage!

The city of Newport has enacted emergency water restrictions .  It means no use of irrigation systems, no vehicle washing, filling swimming pools or spas, fountains or waterfalls.  Hotels/motels must post water conservation notices.  Commercial laundry operations must be delayed as much as is possible.

Fourth of July Encore on KNPT & KYTE!

Newport Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 July 4th Concert
Broadcast Saturday at 4:00 on KNPT & KYTE

The Newport Symphony at the Ocean’s traditional Independence Day celebration continues this year on the air. You are invited to celebrate July 4th with the NSO, wherever you may be, via a very special encore broadcast of the Orchestra’s 2017 free community concert on Saturday, July 4 at 4:00pm on KNPT AM 1310 and KYTE FM 102.7. From 7:00pm-10:00pm the concert, with added photo montage of previous July 4th concerts, will be available for streaming at NewportSymphony.org.

Music Director and Conductor Adam Flatt and the NSO present a rousing concert including the popular annual salutes to the Armed Forces and members of the Newport fleet. The program makes a nod to great American musical favorites including John Williams’s “The Olympic Spirit”, a medley of Henry Mancini’s marches, Richard Rodgers’s selections from “Carousel” and “Victory at Sea,” and much more.

So, grab a barbecue and your radio this Saturday beginning at 4:00pm for a good old fashioned July 4th concert with the Newport Symphony Orchestra on KNPT AM 1310 and KYTE FM 102.7, or tune into the stream online beginning at 7:00 pm at www.newportsymphony.org.

A live performance will not take place this year in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

This concert is made possible by the generous support of Yaquina Bay Communications and Oregon Coast Bank.

For information contact: Don Nelson, Executive Director
Email: execdir@newportsymphony.org
Phone:509-499-2965

Scammers never sleep….

It’s all about the….

Scammers are marketing fraudulent or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, potentially leading consumers to receive false results. In addition, fraudsters are trying to gain access to victims’ personal information, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. They are also seeking personal health data, including Medicare and private health insurance information, which can be used in future insurance or identity theft schemes.

Researchers are trying to develop testing methods that can quickly and easily test large numbers of people for COVID-19 antibodies. However, the FDA has not approved all COVID-19 antibody tests nor has it determined the efficacy of all tests. 

Here are some indicators of fraudulent activity:

  • Claims of FDA approval for antibody testing that you can’t verify
  • Ads for antibody testing through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited or unknown sources
  • Marketers offering “free” COVID-19 antibody tests or providers offering incentives – including cash – if you undergo testing
  • Individuals contacting you in person or by phone or email to tell you the government or government officials require you to take a COVID-19 antibody test

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Check the FDA’s website (fda.gov) for an updated list of approved antibody tests and testing companies
  • Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any at-home antibody tests
  • Use a known laboratory approved by your health insurance company to provide the antibody testing
  • Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals
  • Check your medical bills and the “explanation of benefits” (EOBs) that your insurance company sends you for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to your insurance provider
  • Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals

If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.govat www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.

Newport City Council – Busy

The Newport City Council had a huge mound of issues on their plates Monday afternoon and evening.   Early in the day the council got a sobering assessment of the city’s budget going into the next fiscal year which begins July 1st.  The Covid-19 bombshell has made the future look a bit tentative but with adjusting employee work schedules (partial hour cutbacks among others) City Manager Spencer Nebel seemed comfortable with very tentative budget projections.  In short, the city’s not broke.

The city council agreed on a property tax rate for July 1st going forward – about $5.60/thousand dollars of assessed real estate values.

The recent eruption of  problems at the city’s drinking water plant has been rather unsettling.  For reasons not yet clearly understood, the city’s water plant has a big problem providing adequate supplies of fresh drinking water as well as water for the fish processing plants.  The problem is that the water filtration system is on the fritz due to causes not yet completely understood.   Public Works Director Tim Gross says the city’s getting really squeezed since they’re in the middle of a big fish processing season and it’s forced the city to turn to Toledo and Seal Rock water systems to fill the gaps.  The last word is that there will be enough water, but just barely.  The city’s water consulting firm is also pitching in trying to fix things.  Gross and others seem confident that they’ll get to the bottom of what’s going on and then make repairs or change processing protocols to get the water plant back up to normal.

The council also tackled the problem of how Newport can ensure that when visitors move out of their hotel rooms and return home, that there isn’t a long ‘wait-time” for the next family to occupy the room(s).  It’s all about being afraid of any lingering threat of a Covid-19 exposure should the previous customers be carrying the virus and not being aware of it.  A temporary solution was “sort of” proposed and seemingly approved by the city council – instead of creating a 24 hour gap before hotel/motel housekeepers could prepare the room(s) for the new guests that the gap be limited to three hours.  It gave some councilors a bit of heartburn, but a 4 to 3 vote in favor of the three hour time gap before a room could be properly prepared for the next family was adopted.  But any 4 to 3 vote in favor of anything means more investigating is definitely in the cards.  Fact:  Long waiting times between room occupancies are not popular.  In fact they’re not at all common.  The 24 hour gap seems to be unique to Lincoln County, but again, fairly rare.  Obviously “To be continued.”

NEWPORT!! City Water Plant is not doing well. CONSERVE, CONSERVE!!

Newport Water Treatment Plant is struggling – reduce your water usage!

EMERGENCY NEWPORT WATER RESTRICTIONS STILL IN EFFECT!!

The City of Newport Water Treatment Plant has been having difficulty meeting water demand, and the city has reached a point where it is necessary to enact STRICT water use restrictions. They include:

  1. Use of irrigation systems for lawns, gardens, and landscaping is prohibited. ONLY hand-watering is allowed.
  2. Outdoor washing of equipment, vehicles, pavement, or other facilities is prohibited unless required for public health or safety.
  3. Filling pools and spas (hot tubs) is prohibited.
  4. Use of water fountains is prohibited.
  5. Irrigation of public lands is prohibited.
  6. Flushing of water lines and firefighting drills are prohibited.
  7. Hotels/motels, restaurants, gyms, and similar businesses must post notices  of mandatory conservation measures.
  8. Commercial laundry should be consolidated and delayed to the extent possible.
  9. All residents and businesses are required to fully participate in curtailing water use according to the provisions noted above.

These water restrictions are due to unplanned repairs that affect the City of Newport Water Treatment Plant. City staff is working with the Pall Corporation, manufacturer of the filters utilized at the Water Treatment Plant, and engineers from HDR Engineering, which is the firm that designed the plant.

Staff has been working and monitoring the plant around the clock. The filter cleaning measures that were utilized did not produce the anticipated results. Because the problem has yet to be identified, the city cannot meet its water demand for normal usage at this time. As a result of this, all residents and businesses are required to adhere to these water restrictions. Major water users such as fish processing plants have had to cease operation until the problem is resolved. This is an evolving situation.

The City of Newport thanks its residents and businesses for working together to resolve this very serious problem

Retired Fire Chief Don Rowley joins the “Firefighters in the Sky…”

Retired Fire Chief Don Rowley passes away

It is with great sadness that Newport Fire Department announces the passing of Retired Fire Chief Don Rowley. Chief Rowley joined Newport Fire Department in 1955. Through the years he advanced up the ranks to Assistant Chief.

Following the retirement of Chief Dennis McManus in 1984, he was promoted to Fire Chief by City Manager Don Davis. Chief Rowley served as Fire Chief for 13 years before retiring in 1998. Chief Rowley was a member of the Newport Fire Department for 43 years.

Fire Chief Rob Murphy
Newport Fire-Rescue Department

Governor Brown lowers the boom STATEWIDE on facemasks….

Facemasks now REQUIRED everywhere in Oregon

Governor Kate Brown announced Monday that Oregonians statewide will be required to wear facemasks in indoor public spaces, beginning this Wednesday July 1. The guidance applies to businesses and members of the public visiting indoor public spaces. Facemask requirements are already mandated in eight counties.

“From the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening comes with the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond our health systems’ capacity to test, trace, and isolate them,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Over the last month, we have seen the disease spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties. The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend is a critical point for Oregon in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference.

“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks. Choices every single one of us make in the coming days are critical.”

“Facemasks that cover your nose and mouth play a critical role in reducing the spread of this disease because droplets from our breath can carry the virus to others without us realizing it. If we all wear facemasks, practice six feet of physical distancing in public, wash our hands regularly, and stay home when we are sick, then we can avoid the worst-case scenarios that are now playing out in other states.

“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a facemask when out in public.

“Please keep your Fourth of July celebrations small and local. We saw a lot of new COVID-19 cases following the Memorial Day holiday. Another spike in cases after the upcoming holiday weekend could put Oregon in a dangerous position.

“Oregonians have all made incredible sacrifices over the last several months that have saved thousands of lives. The actions we take now can protect our friends, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow Oregonians from this disease, and prevent the need for another statewide shutdown. We are truly all in this together.”

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) will take the lead, along with other state and local agencies, in enforcing facemask requirements for all covered Oregon businesses.

Semi truck wreck closes OR 22 six miles west of the OR 18 intersection

North Coast: OR 22 is closed six miles west of the OR 18 intersection following a semi crash that has damaged a bridge. The road will be closed for several hours to clear the semi and inspect the bridge.

Travelers should avoid the area, use an alternative route or expect long delays.  Using OR 18 to Highway 101 is the only convenient alternative.

SNAP Food & Nutrition Services

The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) has received approval by the Food and Nutrition Service to provide an additional $30 million to eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in July 2020.

“Oregonians continue to face economic instability and food insecurity,” said Self-Sufficiency Programs Director Dan Haun. “Providing another month of emergency assistance will help address ongoing food needs.”

With the additional funds, all eligible Oregon SNAP households will receive the maximum benefit amount in July. They will receive the extra allotment in the same way they receive their current benefits. For most customers this is an EBT card. The additional benefit amount will be disbursed on the schedule below to all eligible SNAP households. Households that already receive the maximum allotment will not receive an emergency allotment.

This allotment will not permanently change a household’s monthly benefit amount. It is a temporary supplement to help during the current health crisis. DHS will not be sending individual notices to households about the emergency allotments.

In addition to continuing the emergency allotment, Oregon DHS will continue to do telephone interviews for new SNAP applications and recertifications. The health and safety of the community is a priority and getting people the benefits they need without them having to visit a local branch office maintains physical distancing efforts.

All new SNAP applicants and current SNAP recipients who need to recertify July 1 or after must complete an application and interview. Current SNAP recipients were mailed a notice and application to their address on file.

Questions?

Learn how to apply for SNAP and other benefits online or by phone at https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/COVID-19/Pages/Home.aspx.

SNAP customers can contact their local DHS SSP or AAA office for more information. Find a local office at: oregon.gov/DHS/Offices/Pages/index.aspx

Traffic Crash in Newport: 101 and SW Case

3:51pm – Report of a traffic crash on Highway 101 at SW Case in Newport, just north of the bridge.  Motorcycle vs vehicle.  Witnesses describe the accident as a “side-swipe” impact.

Oregon Hospitals Support Governor’s Statewide Face Covering Requirement

Corona Virus – Emerging and mutating…

With a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, medical community urges Oregonians to wear face coverings to fight the spread  

Lake Oswego – Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, released the following statement in support of Governor Kate Brown’s statewide public facemask requirement.

“The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems stands in support of Governor Kate Brown’s statewide public facemask requirement. We know that when we all make the choice to wear a face covering in public, we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With cases on the rise rapidly across the state, it is now more important than ever to take this step to protect our loved ones, our neighbors, and our communities. Further, if we are to coexist alongside the disease, wide adoption of public facemasks is an essential factor in keeping our businesses and public spaces open. OAHHS urges all Oregonians to wear a facemasks in public, and to help reinforce this critical message by talking to your friends and family about the importance of wearing a facemask in public.”

“Outdoor Thing” begins July 7th at Lincoln City Cultural Center

Lincoln City Cultural Center

MARKET? FESTIVAL? OUTDOOR “THING” BEGINS JULY 7 AT THE LINCOLN CITY CULTURAL CENTERLINCOLN CITY – Is Tuesday a good night for you? Us too! The Cultural Center invites the community to enjoy a brand new, mask-required evening market, every Tuesday from July to September 2020. It’s called the Tuesday Night Thing, and it promises to be a collection of food, arts and crafts that will change with the mandates as well as the season. Hours for the TNT will be 4-8 pm, with the first hour (4-5 pm) reserved for the most vulnerable populations.

“In other cities, Tuesday might seem like an odd time for an event,” said Niki Price, executive director of the LCCC. “But we are a tourist town, and Tuesday night IS the weekend for many people in the hospitality industry. We’re all looking for ways to enjoy ourselves while we keep our distance, and we thought that an outdoor market might be just the thing.”

Observing the latest in state and local safety guidelines, the LCCC intends to offer a variety of vendors including baked goods, soaps, produce, hand-crafted gifts and hot food options. Attendance will be limited to ensure the safety of both vendors and patrons. Nonprofit booths are welcome. Live music may be introduced when the state and county guidelines allow.

“The Tuesday Night Thing is a new program, inspired by the need for safe outdoor entertainment for Lincoln City residents as well as the need for vendors to reach their customers,” Price said. “Management will be making the best decisions we can, based on the best information available. We look forward to creating a fun, casual evening market for our community to enjoy.”


To learn more about the TNT or become a vendor, call the LCCC at 541-994-9994. 


SPECIAL COVID REQUIREMENTS:  
The “Tuesday Night Thing” will be practicing General Operations Requirements as outlined by the Oregon Farmers Market Association, including:
* Vendors who cannot maintain safe social distancing are not allowed. Unfortunately, that means no face painters, massage therapists or other vendors who by definition must be in close contact with their customers.
* Market staff, vendors and volunteers must wear cloth, paper or disposable face coverings. Customers must also wear masks while on the LCCC property, unless they are exempted by disability.
* Vendors are in charge of creating selling systems (spaced line, extra table, signage) that will enforce social distancing. They are also required to wipe down high-touch areas frequently.
* As long as Lincoln County remains in Phase 1, the number of customers will be limited to 50 at any one time. If the county moves to Phase 2, we will expand.
* The market will be arranged with social distance in mind, with wide aisles and booths spaced 6-10 feet apart.
* No hot food or ready to eat prepared food will be laid out “buffet style” or in a way in which customers could self-serve, touch or breathe on another’s food.
* Tables will be six feet apart, and parties will be limited to 6 or fewer.
* Bathrooms (inside the LCCC) will be disinfected before and after the market. Hand sanitizer and soap will always be available.
* The first hour of the market (4-5 pm) will be designated “at risk hour” to provide the safest shopping experience for our most vulnerable community members.
* Pre-orders and pick-ups are encouraged. If requested, the LCCC is willing to create a drive-through system for vendors to assist customers who have pre-ordered.
* Use of durable silverware and plates is not allowed. All plates, forks, knives, spoons and napkins must be single-use and disposable.

These and other guidelines can be found at https://www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org/covid-19

This 4th of July may feel a bit different this year…

4th of July
A liiiiittle different this year…

Celebrating Independence Day may look a little different this year. Although annual festivals and summer activities have been canceled or restricted due to COVID-19, there are still ways to enjoy summertime celebrations while managing your risks and keeping Oregonians safe.

As we are all aware, COVID-19 is present and on the rise in our communities. Simple actions such as keeping a 6 ft. distance from others, regular hand washing and wearing a face covering are all ways to manage the risk of spreading COVID to others.

Consider other ways to celebrate – with family and in small groups. If fireworks are a tradition you must maintain, keep a bucket of water or hose nearby, and maintain a safe distance from people, pets and buildings. Always purchase legal fireworks and use them only in areas where they are allowed. Remember, all fireworks are prohibited on Oregon State beaches, parks, campgrounds, and state and federal forest lands; check your local jurisdiction for restrictions.

Multiple areas in Oregon are abnormally dry with much of the state experiencing severe drought. This makes for elevated wildfire conditions and increased risk. Help manage the risk of human-caused wildfire by practicing basic wildfire safety at home, at work, and when you are out and about – hiking, camping and enjoying Oregon scenic areas. If you do travel for the holiday weekend, plan to stay close to home.

“Show your independence this 4th of July and make choices to keep you, your family and your community safe,” says Andrew Phelps, director of Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management. “Stay informed about fireworks safety to mitigate fire danger; maintain physical distancing and wear face coverings when socializing during holiday celebrations. It’s up to each of us to make the small changes that make a big difference.”

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