PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Kate Brown has declared a State of Emergency surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 in Oregon.
Brown authorized the state of emergency Saturday night and confirmed the executive order in writing Sunday. She said the move is to “swiftly deploy the personnel and resources” needed to combat the virus.
“This news is concerning for all Oregonians, but my resolve and that of my administration to address this public health crisis is unchanged,” the governor said Sunday. “This emergency declaration gives the Oregon Health Authority and the Office of Emergency Management all the resources at the state’s disposal to stem the spread of this disease. We will do everything it takes, within our power and in coordination with federal and local officials, to keep Oregonians safe.”
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The declaration, which will last for 60 days, came on Sunday as Brown, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, and other health officials addressed the growing situation surrounding the virus.
Under the declaration, OHA will be able to activate reserves of emergency volunteer health care professionals. The declaration additionally grants broad authority to the State Public Health Director, OHA, and the Office of Emergency Management, which will allow the agencies to take immediate action and devote all available state resources towards containing the virus in Oregon.
Seven new cases have been confirmed bringing the total to 14 in the state: 1 in Douglas County; 1 in Marion County; 5 in Washington County. Three of the 7 are in the hospital undergoing treatment while the other four are recovering at home, officials said. None of the new patients contracted the virus through international travel; all are cases of direct contact with other patients or “community-acquired.” These updates were issued by OHA at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
A $5 million request will be issued to the Legislature’s emergency board on Monday, according to Allen.
Additionally, telemedicine is being ramped up to help hospitals deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We support the Governor’s leadership in taking this step and support any additional actions to prepare and respond to this outbreak,” said the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems in a release Sunday. “Hospitals are on the front lines responding to the outbreak and are committed to providing critical inpatient and community health services to respond to this evolving situation. We are working with the state administration to address important issues such as inpatient capacity, additional supplies, and equipment to keep our workers and patients safe, regulatory relief to ensure adequate staffing and clarity around changing requirements.”