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Amid test kit shortage, Gov. Brown says 20,000 more tests en route to state

The state will receive a total of 20,000 more COVID-19 tests, however not every Oregonian will be able to be tested.

PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 20,000 more tests for COVID-19 coming to Oregon from a private vendor, Gov. Kate Brown said in a phone call with reporters Wednesday morning.

The first 5,000 of those tests should be here "any day now."

Gov. Brown said expanding testing in Oregon is top of mind, as the state lab has only been able to process 80 test kits a day. 

The first 5,000 kits will be distributed as soon as possible, but Gov. Brown re-iterated not everyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19 will be be able to get a test. 

The state is also looking to free up 1,000 temporary hospital beds to move non-COVID-19 patients in to so they can recover and make more space for COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

The state will also look to set up a temporary hospital (The Oregon Medical Station) at the Salem Fairgrounds later this week, that can hold 250 beds. 

She spoke with several other governors around the country Wednesday.

“We are all making the best decisions that we can with the information that we have at that time, there is no single right protocol,” she said. 

A number of things are in flux as the number of those infected changes from day to day.

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The state is working to obtain more PPE (Personal Protective Equipment, like masks), and the governor said plans are in place to create some sort of state-wide plan for people with extra PPE to donate masks and other equipment to healthcare workers. 

When asked about the unemployment website, which has crashed more than once due to demand and lost jobs, Brown said, "Our needs will far outweigh our resources."

In terms of schooling, all schools will be closed until April 28 which will be a total of six weeks. However, Gov. Brown said that during this time school districts will be offering learning assistance, food, and other resources to make this time easier for families and children. Mental health services and childcare will also be included in those resources.

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Gov. Brown said the decision to still provide childcare was one she was grappling with. But stated the need for first responders and healthcare workers to be able to do their jobs was paramount.

It is unclear when, if, or how students will be making up lost learning time. That is a decision that will be made after a discussion with schools, teachers, and parents has been had, said Gov. Brown.

"I will just say right now, all options are on the table to preserve the health and safety of all Oregonians.," said Gov. Brown when asked if she was considering a shelter in place protocol. "We are making the best decisions that we can with rapidly changing information, escalating decisions as the cases increase."

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