July 1, 2020 3:45 a.m.
On Tuesday Oregon Governor Kate Brown extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until September 4th.
Brown said when she first declared the state of emergency due to coronavirus, there were 14 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon. Today there have been over 8,600 cases, with over a quarter of those identified in the last two weeks of June. She said while hospitalizations remain relatively low, “we have seen how rapidly the numbers can climb”. She said 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”.
Brown said in the months since those first cases, the state has shored up its supplies of personal protective equipment, worked with counties to hire contact tracers and expanded the statewide testing capability. She said that has happened “despite the failures of the federal government to supply Oregon with an equitable amount of testing materials”. Brown said thanks to the “tremendous sacrifices made by staying at home in the spring” 1,500 hospitalizations and over 70,000 COVID-19 infections were prevented.
Brown said the state is now at a crossroads. She said the individual choices each person makes will decide whether Oregon will flatten the curve of new COVID-19 infections, or sees a devastating spike in cases that overwhelms hospital capacity in the next month.
She said if people follow medical advice to wear a face covering in public, and the other things that have been asked of them, “together we can keep our friends and loved ones healthy and safe”.
Brown said if too many Oregonians continue to ignore the precautions, there could be an exponential growth in cases, and newly reopened communities and businesses could close again. She said residents 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, Florida or Arizona.
Brown said “Oregon you have a choice. You can help to save lives again. What happens next is up to all of us”.
The release said the state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the Governor has issued. Moving forward, the Governor will review and reevaluate each of the emergency orders every 60 days.