Portland, OR

Tuesday in Portland: Hospitals filling up amid latest COVID surge, TriMet shelters damaged & more

Emily Scarvie

(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, July 12 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Portland hospitals nearing capacity amid latest COVID-19 surge

Local hospitals are filling up amid another COVID-19 surge across Oregon. The new omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are reportedly three times as contagious as the original strain, and recent reports from the Oregon Health Authority show 46,000 COVID cases statewide just last month.

Of the reported cases, less than 3% of vaccinated cases were hospitalized. Vaccinated people who did get hospitalized were rarely in the ICU.

Currently, a second booster shot is only available to those 50 years and older, and those 12 years and older who are immunocompromised. To find a COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon, click here.

2. TriMet bus shelters repeatedly damaged, vandalized

TriMet officials say nearly 100 bus shelters across Portland were damaged in June alone, and it’s costing the agency thousands of dollars in repairs. TriMet spokesperson Tyler Graf said the majority of damages are shattered glass, which can cost between $450 to $1,500 to replace. Fixing the entire shelter costs roughly $10,000.

“We are looking into ways to make the shelters, specifically glass, more durable and difficult to break,” Graf said. “It affects our riders. These shelters are public spaces intended for our riders to have a little bit of comfort or be protected from the elements.”

Graf said ridership has gone down compared to pre-pandemic years. Many Portlanders say the damaged shelters are just another reminder of how the city is changing. Damaged shelters can be reported at (503) 238-7433.

3. Local animal shelters see spike in abandoned, surrendered pets

Local animal shelters are filling up to levels not seen in years and the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society says it’s because many pets are being surrendered or abandoned and adoptions have slowed down. The WCGHS says they’re also experiencing a shortage of fosters.

According to Michelle Simeone, the executive director of WCGHS, people can’t afford basic care for their pets due to inflation. She said if anyone is having trouble caring for their pet, they should reach out to their local animal shelter for help.

Anyone interested in adopting or fostering a pet can visit the WCGHS website.

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