“When I first declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus, there were 14 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon. Today, there have been over 8,600 cases, with over a quarter of those cases identified in the previous two weeks of June. While hospitalizations remain relatively low, we have seen how rapidly those numbers can climb. And, sadly, 207 Oregonians have lost their lives to this disease. 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.
“In the months since those first cases were discovered, we have shored up our supplies of personal protective equipment, worked with counties to hire contact tracers, and––despite the failures of the federal government to supply Oregon with an equitable amount of testing materials––we have expanded our statewide testing capability. And, thanks to the tremendous sacrifices Oregonians made by staying home in the spring, we prevented 1,500 hospitalizations and over 70,000 COVID-19 infections.
“Now, we again find ourselves at a crossroads as a state. The individual choices each of us makes will decide whether Oregon either flattens the curve of new COVID-19 infections, or sees a devastating spike in cases that overwhelms our hospital capacity in the next month.
“If we all follow the advice of doctors––if you wear a face covering in public, if you wash your hands, if you cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, if you stay home when you are sick––together, we can keep our friends and loved ones healthy and safe.
“If too many Oregonians continue to ignore these precautions, we could see an exponential growth in cases, and newly reopened communities and businesses could close again. We 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 or Florida or Arizona.
“Oregon, you have a choice. You can help to save lives again. What happens next is up to all of us.”
The state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the Governor has issued to keep Oregonians healthy and safe throughout this crisis, including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential health and safety protections, as well as orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect.
Moving forward, the Governor will review and reevaluate each of her emergency orders every 60 days, to determine whether those orders should be continued, modified, or rescinded.