State reports 24 new COVID-19 cases; announces funding for Local Public Health and Tribes

By the CUJ

PORTLAND, Ore.— Oregon Health Authority and other officials announced details about $4 million in state funding that is going out to Local Public Health Authorities (LPHA), Tribes and Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA – the Urban Indian Health Program in Oregon) to support their COVID-19 response.

Through Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is receiving $40,000 in state funding. The other eight federally recognized tribes in Oregon each are receiving $35,000. NARA – the Urban Indian Health Program located in Portland – also is receiving $35,000.

Basic facts about the funding:

  • Total amount to these recipients is $4 million, representing a substantial portion of the funds approved by the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board on March 9.
  • Funding amounts are based on a funding formula as well as COVID-19 cases and investigative work as of March 10, 2020.
  • Funds can be used to support local and tribal COVID-19 response, including: reporting, monitoring and controlling of COVID-19 in communities
  • Identification and screening of contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals
  • Education, prevention and related communications activities to share information with the public and community partners

“We believe that those funds will have a significant positive impact on our state’s capacity to perform COVID-19 response functions at the local level,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “Their staff are truly on the front lines of the essential epidemiological work that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in communities. But we know that more resources will be needed across all aspects of the response.”

“Honoring our government to government relationship is important in our coordinated response to COVID-19,” said Julie Johnson, OHA Director of Tribal Affairs. “We are appreciative of this funding to provide support at the local level. We know everyone is working extremely hard to protect all of our communities across the state.”

“Local health authorities are on the frontlines of this epidemic and leading the response,” said Jocelyn Warren, PhD, MPH, Public Health Division Manager Lane County and current Conference of Local Health Officials chair. “This vitally important funding will ensure that their ability to respond increases in line with the severity of the crisis.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has claimed another life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from to four, to five as of 8 a.m. today, March 23. The Oregon Health Authority also reported 24 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 161.

The COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (1), Deschutes (1), Lane (1), Marion (3), Multnomah (1), Washington (13) and Yamhill (2). Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website:

Oregon’s one COVID-19 death in Linn County is a veteran in his 90’s, who tested positive on March 11, and died this morning at the Oregon Veterans Home. He had underlying medical conditions.

“Our hearts are heavy,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “This resident was a veteran who served our nation with honor and dignity in its hour of need. He was also a beloved member of our Lebanon community, and he will be deeply and truly missed. On behalf of everyone at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Oregon Veterans’ Home, we offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We grieve with them.”