Washington, Oregon, California announce coronavirus pact

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

West Coast governors on Monday announced a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, California Governor Gavin Newsom and Washington Governor Jay Inslee said they will base decisions to reopen on “health outcomes and science.”

“Reopening Oregon is not a process that will happen overnight or statewide all at once,” Brown said in a statement. “Each decision will be carefully weighed and made in consultation with local leaders to make sure policies are implemented correctly, with safeguards in place to protect the public health. Health outcomes will be the ultimate metric guiding decisions to reopen communities—we will only reopen Oregon if the data shows we can do so without jeopardizing public health.”

The pact comes following a tweet from President Trump on Monday that said some are “saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect…it is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.”

He added, “With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”

After sending out the joint statement, Brown issued a tweet of her own.

“Our states are different, but there’s strength in our interconnectedness,” she said. “On the West Coast, we each took early & decisive action to stem the spread of this disease — and it makes perfect sense that we move forward together on a shared approach to restart public life & business.”

The governors said that while each state has made progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 each state’s public health leaders will focus on four goals: Protecting vulnerable populations — such as those in nursing homes — who are at risk if infected; ensuring adequate hospital capacity and personal protective equipment in order to care for those who may get sick; mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities; and protecting the general public “by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating.”


The governors’ joint statement is below:

COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.

We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.

While each state is building a state-specific plan, our states have agreed to the following principles as we build out a West Coast framework:

Our residents’ health comes first. As home to one in six Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.

Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities—particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.

Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with it’s local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.

Through quick and decisive action, each of our states has made significant progress in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19 among the broader public. Now, our public health leaders will focus on four goals that will be critical for controlling the virus in the future.

  • Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
  • Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
  • Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.

COVID-19 doesn’t follow state or national boundaries. It will take every level of government, working together, and a full picture of what’s happening on the ground.

In the coming days the governors, their staff and health officials will continue conversations about this regional pact to recovery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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