Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in Oregon to address the spread of the novel coronavirus after the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) identified seven new cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, bringing the total to 14. The governor authorized the state of emergency by verbal proclamation last night at 8:14 p.m., and confirmed the executive order in writing this morning.
"This news is concerning for all Oregonians, but my resolve and that of my administration to address this public health crisis is unchanged," Brown said. "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."
Brown's emergency declaration allows OHA to activate reserves of emergency volunteer health care professionals, bringing online auxiliary medical professionals to work with local health authorities to identify and contain new cases of COVID-19 in Oregon.
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 coronavirus in Oregon.
The state of emergency will remain in effect for 60 days, but can be extended until the public health threat of the coronavirus is contained.
Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems President and CEO Becky Hultberg said Oregon’s 62 acute care hospitals support the emergency declaration.
“By declaring a state of emergency, the Governor and the Oregon Health Authority Director are taking necessary steps to bring state government’s broad powers to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Oregon,” Hultberg said. “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.”