Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday extended her state of emergency declaration, telling Oregonians Labor Day weekend would be “another critical moment in this crisis.”
“We can work together to stay safe and put Oregon on the path to return more students to classrooms,” Brown said in a statement. “Or, we could see Labor Day celebrations unknowingly sow the seeds of COVID-19 outbreaks that could set us back for months. Until there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19, this disease can spread like wildfire if we let our guard down.
Small social get-togethers like barbecues and family celebrations have fueled wider community outbreaks in counties across Oregon, she said.
“This weekend, you have a choice. Please, stay local this Labor Day, and practice safe COVID-19 habits,” she said. “Wear a face covering, watch your physical distance, and wash your hands.”
Brown extended the state of emergency for an additional 60 days, until November 3.
The state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders Brown has issued to keep Oregonians healthy and safe throughout the crisis, including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential health and safety protections, as well as orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect.
To date, Oregon has reported 26,946 cases of COVID-19 and 465 deaths. More than 556,000 Oregonians have tested negative for the disease.
She last extended the state of emergency in June.
“Now, six months after this crisis began, we have made progress. Together, we have slowed the spread of this disease. Oregon has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country,” she said. “But, as students across Oregon begin a school year far different than any other before, it is clear that, at current COVID-19 levels, it will not be safe in much of the state for children to return to in-classroom instruction for months to come.”COVID-19 EPI Cases