Erik Neumann


Erik Neumann is an experienced radio producer and reporter who grew up alongside the Puget Sound. He's passionate about telling the human stories behind America's health care system, public lands and the environment, and the arts. He got his Masters degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Erik joined JPR after several years as a staff reporter at KUER, the NPR station in Salt Lake City, where he focused on health care coverage. He was a 2019 Mountain West fellow with the Association of Health Care Journalists and is a contributor at Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service committed to in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. 

Image of exterior of veterans home
California Department of Veterans Affairs

UPDATE: MONDAY, APRIL 6, 9:30 a.m. ... 

Officials with the California Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Sunday night that another staff member at their Redding veterans home has tested positive for the coronavirus. They said they’re also waiting for test results from an additional staff member who showed COVID-19 symptoms.

Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Social media is great for sharing information with friends. But it’s not so great at making sure that information is correct. While there’s no cure for the COVID-19 coronavirus, misinformation about supposed remedies is spreading across the internet.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced on Friday their 2020 season will be further postponed until the fall and they’ve laid off the majority of their staff. The decisions will have major effects on the town of Ashland, as well as the rest of Southern Oregon.


The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced Friday morning that the Ashland-based regional theater company's 2020 season will be further postponed until early September due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. They also laid off the majority of their staff.

fotografierende via Pexels

UPDATED: MARCH 27, 1:30 p.m. -- Congress has passed, and President Trump has signed, a $2 trillion emergency relief package for Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But local businesses are wondering how much that aid will actually help them.

Courtesy of Elisabeth Zinser

Older adults are at higher risk for illnesses from COVID-19. So, many people over 65 years old are isolating themselves at home, even more than the rest of us.

Jefferson Public Radio’s Erik Neumann spoke with Rogue Valley seniors Augusta Lucas-Andreae, Andrea Gay, Larry Hunter and Elisabeth Zinser to hear how they’re coping with isolation while staying at home because of the new coronavirus.

Image of a trail in the redwoods.
California State Parks

State parks in Oregon and many in California are now closed because of both state’s shelter in place orders.

The Oregon order affects campgrounds, including trails and state park facilities. It went into effect late Monday as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many National Parks are still open, Crater Lake National Park is also closed because of the state order by request of the state health department.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Officials in Humboldt County, California announced Tuesday that a fifth resident tested positive for COVID-19. That comes after several new cases of patients who traveled internationally to a country that was not considered “high risk,” according to health officials. 

Image of person in protective gear standing at table.
Lauren Van Sickle, Asante

Health care workers across Oregon are facing an urgent shortage of protective equipment like gloves, gowns and, in particular, masks as they test for cases of COVID-19 and treat patients who have been infected with the virus.

Oregon nurses are being advised to reuse personal protective equipment, known as PPE, that under normal circumstances would not be tolerated, according to health care advocates.


An employee of southern Oregon’s Asante hospital system has tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital employee was the first patient known to contract the virus in Josephine County.

In a statement, Asante officials said confidentiality laws prevent the disclosure of information about the individual who tested positive.  


“We are working closely with our local public health officials to identify any employees, patients and community members who may have had close contact with this person,” the statement reads.

Image of two people in plastic suits in parking area doing virus testing.
Lauren Van Sickle, Asante

During a recent state coronavirus press conference, Dr. Renee Edwards from Oregon Health and Science University described an ominous number. It was the projected increase in COVID-19 cases around the state.

According to models, she said, the number of cases in Oregon are doubling every 6.2 days.

“This modeling does tell us that without a significant slowing of COVID-19, Oregon will not be able to serve the hospital needs of Oregonians without creating more hospital beds,” Edwards said.


As coronavirus effects expand, we'll work to take time at the beginning of each day's Exchange to catch up on local effects with JPR reporters.  Here, Erik Neumann phones in with news of hospitals and other health care providers bracing for the potential surge in patients. 

Southern Oregon University

Universities and technical colleges in southern Oregon and northern California announced plans on Thursday to extend spring breaks and move classes online in order to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

Photo of the outside of county health building.
Jackson County

Several hundred public employees of Jackson County could soon go on strike over longstanding disagreements over health coverage and pay. The union employees includes staff in the county’s Health and Human Services department, the agency working on the county’s coronavirus response.

Image of a spiky ball meant to depict the coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, continues to spread along the West Coast, older adults are at especially high risk.

Image of person's hands holding syringe.
Jair Lazaro via Unsplash

California Congressmember Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, proposed legislation late last week to defund syringe exchange programs. The proposal, that would reinstate a federal ban on funding for syringe exchange programs, would be a blow to public health resources.

Image of homes on a hill surrounded by trees.
Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center

As the threat of longer, more devastating wildfire seasons increases risks for California homeowners, insurance companies have been responding with their own strategy: refusing to renew homeowner policies. Zip codes in counties most impacted by wildfire saw a 10% increase in non-renewals of homeowner insurance between 2017 and 2018, according to the California Department of Insurance.

Image of nurse injecting vaccine in girl's arm.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via Unsplash

Kids in Oregon might be sent home from school today. That’s if they’re not up-to-date on their vaccinations or if they don’t have a vaccine exemption. Known as “exclusion day” February 19, 2020 is the deadline for vaccinations for all children in Oregon in childcare, pre-school, Head Start, and public and private schools, grades K-12.

Map of Oregon with clinic locations.
Oregon Health Authority

A proposed bill in the Oregon legislature would boost funding for a new model of behavioral health clinics aimed at treating both the physical and mental health of patients.

Image of woman standing in park.
Erik Neumann/JPR

Medford is a regional hub for mental health services in Southern Oregon. But according to complaints from some patients and therapists, gaps in the mental health system are causing vulnerable people to slip through the cracks.