By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: A rollercoaster of COVID-19 numbers

Oregon has relatively small numbers of COVID-19 virus cases and deaths, but enough to create financial devastation for many citizens, private businesses, nonprofit organizations and public bodies.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Just over one-sixth of 1 percent of Oregonians have either tested positive, or are presumed to have contracted, the COVID-19 virus, about 7,600 of 4.23 million Oregonians. Here in Yamhill County, the number is just under one-tenth of 1 percent – 102 of our 108,000 residents.

Nearly 100 Oregon deaths have been attributed to the COVID-19 virus, including eight in Yamhill County.

Still, a roller-coaster impact continues for state and national economies. Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians have filed unemployment claims since the pandemic began — a number approaching 50 million nationwide. Millions of people who returned to work under federal loans to businesses soon will return to partial or full unemployment as those forgivable loans are depleted.

Major segments the economy have been staggered by stay-at-home policies. As expected, partial re-opening of the economy produced major spikes in COVID-19 cases here and nationwide. Increased testing is one reason for rising case-counts, but in Oregon and elsewhere ,those tests are producing an increased percentage of positive results.

In the past two weeks, COVID-19 cases are up about 40 percent in Oregon and about 30 percent in Yamhill County. In that same period, however, hospitalization for COVID-19 is up about 50 percent in the state. Hospital numbers aren’t readily available for Yamhill County.

Somehow, at every level, Americans need to find a balance of safety measures with cautious but continuous economic re-opening. Somehow, we need consistent collaboration of states with federal and county governments to facilitate normal financial transactions despite needing measures of social distancing, face masks and crowd restrictions, with emphasis on collaborations instead of executive edicts.

A great many school children may have partial or even full-time at-home learning in the fall, taking a personal and financial toll on people and employers. Public and private schools in Oregon have until August 15 to provide written plans describing “how they will comply with … requirements for face coverings, physical distancing, sanitization, monitoring and isolation procedures, as well as standards for the continuity of high-quality education.”

There are concerns that many school systems, facing their own budget problems, may declare the demands impossible to fulfill and return to the home-education policies of recent months.

Hope continues for the game-changer of effective treatments and a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, but today’s medical realities must dictate today’s policies.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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