Two February cases, 0 March cases
No new COVID-19 cases have been reported at Portland State since the beginning of March, holding PSU at 43 cases over the course of the pandemic.
PSU relies heavily on a self-reporting system for people who have tested positive or inconclusive and have been on campus within two weeks of a positive test. The self-reporting form can be found on PSU’s Coronavirus Response website.
Multnomah County, Oregon’s most populous county, officially moved to a moderate risk level for COVID-19, down from its previous high risk level and joining neighboring Washington and Clackamas counties at the moderate level. 13 counties total moved to lower levels and three moved higher, Governor Kate Brown announced March 9.
Two counties, Coos and Douglas, remain at the extreme risk level; nine are at the high risk level, 12 are at moderate risk, and 13 are at lower risk. The current levels are effective from March 12–25.
Moving to the moderate risk level further eases restrictions on many indoor services, such as restaurants and shops, largely by increasing their capacity, according to The Oregonian. However, curbside pick up is still encouraged.
Brown also announced during a Friday press conference that Oregon’s vaccine eligibility timeline would not change to match President Joe Biden’s pledge to make vaccines available to all adults by May 1—until vaccine shipments from the federal government increase, according to AP News. In Oregon, vaccine eligibility isn’t slated to be available for all adults until sometime on or before July 1.
According to Brown, Oregon’s timeline has always been based on the amount of supplies received from the federal government, and if the resources are there, then the timeline will be reassessed to match the president’s goal.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislation cleared Congress after a final, nearly party line vote in the House of Representatives, 220-211, according to AP News. Biden officially signed the bill into law Thursday, and the IRS announced Friday that processing for this round of stimulus checks has begun.
The highlight of the legislation is its stimulus checks. For individuals, the legislation will dole out $1,400 for single taxpayers and $2,800 for married taxpayers who file jointly, with an additional $1,400 per dependent, according to AP News. Individuals with an income of up to $70,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive the full amount, while those who earn more will see smaller checks. The hard cutoff for stimulus checks is an $80,000 income for individuals or $160,000 for married couples.
The legislation also provides additional money for schools—$130 billion to K-12 schools and $40 billion to colleges and universities. As part of the bill, at least half of the money allocated to higher education must be used on emergency grants for students, according to Inside Higher Ed.