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Gov. Brown pledges $30M toward protecting farm workers from COVID-19

On top of one million face masks, Governor Brown said that the state will provide millions toward mitigating coronavirus outbreaks among Oregon's agricultural workers.

Posted: May 29, 2020 5:22 PM
Updated: May 29, 2020 5:34 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown says that she will put more than $30 million toward protecting Oregon's farm workers from coronavirus, hot on the heels of tasking National Guard members with delivering roughly one million masks delivered to farm managers around the state.

Though Oregon's rate of coronavirus infections has largely been trending downward amid restrictions and expanded testing, several of the state's most recent large outbreaks have been among agricultural workers — affecting seasonal laborers who often live in shared housing or work in close proximity.

“People employed in agriculture are essential workers. They are also a vital part of our community,” said Patrick Allen, OHA director. “The agricultural work environment can put them at higher risk of infection from a communicable disease like COVID-19, and we need to do everything we can to reduce that risk..”

Over the past week, the Oregon National Guard has helped facilitate the delivery of face masks — in the hundreds of thousands — to farm managers across the state to be handed out to laborers. They arrived in Central Point to meet with local farmers on Thursday.

However, the distribution of face masks doesn't begin to cover what Brown has promised to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks among farm workers. In a statement on Friday, Brown's office outlined what that $30 million is intended to buy:

  • $14 million for mitigation of COVID-19 outbreaks, including a Quarantine Fund for recovering farmworkers, deployment of PPE, and community-based outreach and prevention grants to organizations serving migrant workers to conduct field education, outreach and engagement activities.
  • $10 million for agriculture workforce housing, including an assistance program for hotel and alternative housing reimbursements to agricultural producers in response to Oregon OSHA's temporary rules that encourage physical distancing and support additional housing capacity in response to COVID-19.
  • $5 million for additional COVID-19 field sanitation, including reimbursement for field sanitation, hand-washing stations and portable restrooms, in response to OSHA's temporary rules.
  • $1 million to support additional physical distancing requirements for employer-provided transportation in response to OSHA's temporary rules.

Oregon Housing and Community Services also plans to direct up to $3.5 million for safe shelter alternatives — including hotel and motel vouchers for vulnerable populations whose living situations and underlying health conditions make them particularly susceptible to severe consequences from exposure to COVID-19.

"Oregon’s agricultural workers are on the frontlines during this COVID-19 crisis, working to provide food for Oregon families,” said Governor Brown. “This investment will bring essential resources to agricultural producers and farmworkers, providing critical resources to keep workers safe and mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks while protecting the food supply chain."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4850807

Reported Deaths: 71341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148419226540
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3673614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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