Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday extended her state of emergency declaration for an additional 60 days – until Sept. 4th.
Brown first declared a state of emergency in early March when Oregon had just 14 cases of COVID-19.
Today, the OHA reported there were more than 8,600 with “a quarter of those cases identified in the previous two weeks of June.”
“While hospitalizations remain relatively low, we have seen how rapidly those numbers can climb. And, sadly, 207 Oregonians have lost their lives to this disease,” she said in a statement. “Without a doubt, COVID-19 continues to pose a real and present threat to Oregonians in communities across the state, from Malheur County to Umatilla to Lincoln.”
The declaration means the state’s reserves of emergency healthcare professionals remain activated and that she was giving broad authority to state health officials to take immediate action as necessary to fight the virus.
It’s the legal underpinning for her executive orders including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential health and safety protections, orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations.
Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect.
“Now, we again find ourselves at a crossroads as a state,” she said. “The individual choices each of us makes will decide whether Oregon either flattens the curve of new COVID-19 infections, or sees a devastating spike in cases that overwhelms our hospital capacity in the next month.
“If we all follow the advice of doctors––if you wear a face covering in public, if you wash your hands, if you cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, if you stay home when you are sick––together, we can keep our friends and loved ones healthy and safe.
“If too many Oregonians continue to ignore these precautions, we could see an exponential growth in cases, and newly reopened communities and businesses could close again. We have a chance, now, before the Fourth of July weekend, to make sure that Oregon’s COVID-19 numbers don’t follow the same skyrocketing trajectory of states like Texas or Florida or Arizona.
“Oregon, you have a choice. You can help to save lives again. What happens next is up to all of us.”
Moving forward, Brown said she will review and reevaluate each of her emergency orders every 60 days, to determine whether those orders should be continued, modified, or rescinded.