A customer fills up Monday in La Grande. Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker lifted Oregon’s ban on self-serve fueling at gas stations through at least April 11.

SALEM — Oregon as of Monday afternoon has 606 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since January.

Washington County has the most, with 168, according to the Oregon Military Department’s webpage tracking the coronavirus outbreak. Union County continues to have one confirmed case, the same as Grant and Morrow counties. Umatilla County earlier Monday announced its fifth case.

The state total does not reflect that recent addition.

No cases have been reported in Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Gilliam, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Sherman, Wallowa and Wheeler counties. Washington County has had the most cases, 154, followed by Marion with 109.

The state reported Sunday that 142 patients had been hospitalized for COVID-19.

In a video Saturday, Gov. Kate Brown said the latest modeling shows Oregon is unlikely to run out of available hospital beds if people practice social distancing. Passenger traffic at Portland International Airport is down 90% and ridership on TriMet is down about 80%.

Here’s a round-up of other coronavirus news:

•Self-serve gas: Oregon Fire Marshal Jim Walker temporarily suspended the state’s ban on self-serve gas.

For years, Oregon and New Jersey have been the only states disallowing self-service, but Oregon gradually has been easing restrictions, especially in rural areas. Oregon politicians had differing reactions to the news.

“Personally, I think the best solution is to have the customer run their own card and let the attendant pump the gas, thereby limiting the number of different people touching the pump,” Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, wrote in his daily constituent update.

Consumer Reports offers these tips on self-protection while pumping gas: Consider carrying disposable nitrile or latex gloves to use when gripping the pump handle. Or use paper towels to grip the handle and to touch the keypads. When done, invert the gloves and throw them away, along with any paper towels, etc., that you’ve used. Use hand sanitizer before getting back into the vehicle.

•Stay Home, Stay Alive: The governor’s social distancing campaign launched Saturday with the Portland-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy producing the ads for free. They include slogans such as “Don’t accidentally kill someone,” “Keep Portland alive” (instead of “weird”) and “Essential workers, as you stay outside for us, we will stay at home for you. Thank you.”

•Online charter schools: Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Education Department, clarified that online education may continue. Virtual public charter schools were included in the school closure that Brown ordered through April 28. The Education Department said schools that offered online education, or were capable of doing so, could keep operating if there were no in-person contact.

All Oregon schools have been ordered to provide “supplemental” education – informal or review materials for students – whereas the schools in Washington state have been told to resume teaching students, although not in person.

•Trump signs aid: Oregon Rep. Greg Walden joined President Donald Trump at the White House signing ceremony for the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that Congress passed last week.

•Getting to Capitol Hill: Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio flew back to D.C. on Thursday night to vote for passage of the coronavirus response on Friday. He said his Alaska Airlines flight had four passengers with four or five flight attendants.

•Special session: Sen. Dembrow said it was too early to tell when Gov. Brown might convene a special legislative session. State government will receive a hefty amount of money from the congressional aid package.

— Observer staff contributed to this report

“Until we have a better understanding of the gaps in the federal legislation, we won’t know exactly what is needed in a special session,” Dembrow wrote in a constituent update. “The Governor is committed to calling us into session only when (a) we know exactly what financial assistance is needed from the state and (b) it is clear that any actions taken are supported by both the Democratic and Republican caucuses.

“Another reason for her reluctance to call us into session is that our state budget outlook is not yet clear.”

Some legislators have said a special session might not be necessary. In a disaster, Brown has widespread authority to move money around in the state budget and to take certain other actions without legislative approval.


Observer staff contributed to this report.

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