PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Governor Kate Brown extended Oregon’s state of emergency declaration Tuesday in preparation for the “impending” surge in omicron COVID-19 cases, the governor said in a press release.
“As Oregon prepares for what could be our worst surge in hospitalizations during this pandemic, I know that this is not the beginning of the new year any of us had hoped for,” Governor Brown said. “Your actions have saved lives, and it is because we have worked together to keep each other safe that Oregon still has some of the lowest infection and mortality rates in the nation.”
Gov Brown also encouraged Oregonians to get vaccinated, including booster doses, and to wear masks.
In the press release, Brown also said the emergency declaration will help provide resources to the state including SERV-OR volunteer medical providers, access to federal disaster relief funding and flexibility around professional health licensing.
The state of emergency declaration will remain in effect until June 30, 2022.
Ahead of the surge, President Biden held a press conference Tuesday where he discussed hospital staffing issues — announcing he is deploying troops and FEMA to help hospitals too.
OHSU told KOIN 6 News they can’t expand their hours due to staffing constraints and they expect to see demand increase at the start of the new year.
The county is working to add sites where people can get the vaccine and boosters. They don’t know exactly how many they will have yet but said they will focus on adding locations east of 205. They said if Oregonians can get a shot before that, do it.
“We’re aspiring to be planning for about another week, and then looking to stand up things about a week after that. Nothing goes quickly, and then you add in severe weather and a holiday. But, we know time is of the essence,” Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Anne Loeffler explained.
Loeffler also noted they will be looking for volunteers.
“100%. Every single thing we do is limited by staffing,” Loeffler said.
KOIN 6 News also checked if large venues are cancelling events ahead of the surge.
Moda Center said at this point they are not cancelling events.