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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: 176157

Reported Deaths: 2461
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35145568
Washington23569229
Marion20282299
Clackamas15499204
Lane11722144
Jackson9984127
Umatilla798483
Deschutes721472
Linn418763
Yamhill412575
Klamath353759
Polk346452
Malheur343058
Josephine307862
Douglas305765
Benton275418
Jefferson207432
Coos198431
Columbia155426
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130228
Hood River113029
Morrow108115
Clatsop9008
Crook89119
Baker86114
Curry5999
Tillamook5833
Grant4204
Lake4147
Harney3136
Wallowa1575
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3723446

Reported Deaths: 61122
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122964123668
Riverside2976204547
San Bernardino2949734561
San Diego2753683674
Orange2691764900
Santa Clara1173172017
Kern1080131331
Sacramento1016651647
Fresno1007021646
Alameda855831477
Ventura803321002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus605831032
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41226560
San Francisco36094529
Santa Barbara33926446
Solano32047239
Merced31289453
Sonoma29720311
Imperial27995719
Kings22781245
Placer21908283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16289240
Santa Cruz15666204
Marin13868226
Yolo13572200
Shasta11747219
Butte11601196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598963
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399347
Humboldt363138
Amador362946
Lake341643
Glenn235825
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4287
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned440
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