April 16, 2020

Over 53,000 individuals across the nation are reported as recovered from COVID-19. Statewide confirmed cases have increased to 1,736, and COVID-19 related deaths have increased to 64. Union County remains at a total of four confirmed cases. Wallowa County remains at one confirmed case.

Last evening, the Union County Incident Management Team held a virtual public meeting. Several questions were received from the public during the broadcast and were answered, but questions are continuing to come in. If you have a COVID-19 related question, you are invited to submit it to neoregonjic@gmail.com and we will do our best to provide an answer for you or direct you to the appropriate person or group.

A question received today included one from a gentleman who is still working during the COVID-19 crisis. He would like to contribute a portion of his stimulus check to local use such as helping those that have lost their jobs or are needing food assistance. Community Connection of Northeast Oregon (CCNO) provides tax deductible donation opportunities to a variety of programs. One option includes a donation to the Food Bank program. CCNO provides food distribution to 18 agencies in Union, Wallowa, Baker, and Grant counties. The food bank provides for low-income households struggling to provide food for their families. Community members play a large part in the success of the food bank through financial contributions. Historically, 80% of the food and funding is from local donors. Additional information for donors or those needing assistance can be found at https://ccno.wp.iescentral.com/food-services/food-banks-2/.

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to assist rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development is working to keep customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions, and more.

The American Red Cross is partnering with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to collect plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Recovered patients have antibodies that might help fight the infection. The Red Cross began collecting and distributing the first convalescent plasma donations two weeks ago to help patients in immediate need. Since distributing these products, two of the patients have improved significantly and are being weaned off ventilator use. Recovered COVID-19 patients who would like to participate in the program are encouraged to sign up at RedCrossBlood.org/Plasma4Covid. Thousands have registered their interest in helping. The hope is to collected hundreds more donations in the coming weeks to meet urgent nationwide hospital need.