PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday morning she will not be instituting a shelter in place order for the state.
However, she said nothing is off the table yet, and emphasized that Oregonians over the age of 60 or those with underlying health problems should, in effect, already be sheltering in place themselves.
The governor also announced the closure of all state campgrounds, but added day use areas in state parks are still available for use. If you plan on visiting a park, maintain 6 feet of social distance and avoid crowded areas.
Decreasing supply of protective gear
Gov. Brown also addressed the state's dwindling supply of masks, hospital gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
As of March 18, the state had used up 28% of N-95 masks, 63% of surgical masks and 83% surgical gowns.
She said her executive order for veterinarians, dentists and other healthcare workers to stop conducting non-emergency operations should help, and asked anyone with extra PPE to mail it to:
AATN: PPE Coordinator
Dept. of Corrections
3601 State Street
Salem, OR, 97203
KGW has received several tips from Oregonians in the past few days who have started sewing home-made PPE gear. When asked about the safety of this, Gov. Brown praised the ingenuity of Oregonians, but said that gear likely doesn't pass safety standards.
Later in the press call, the governor said nothing is off the table when it comes to PPE as times get dire, and added the state may eventually ask for home-made kits.
Gov. Brown added she will continue requesting more PPE from the federal government. As of March 19, she had received about 25% of her total request to Vice President Mike Pence for masks and other PPE.
Lastly, the governor said she is working to find more newly-made PPE produced in the U.S., but emphasized every state is struggling with a dwindling supply, partially due to a supply chain problem in China.
State awaits 5,000 lab tests
The governor also announced this week the state has come to an agreement with a private lab to get 20,000 tests delivered to the state. Five-thousand of those should be arriving in the coming days, and as of Thursday morning, they hadn't arrived yet.
That first batch of tests will be going to:
1. Healthcare, emergency medical services, public safety and other critical infrastructure workers showing symptoms of COVID-19.
2. Anyone with symptoms in hospitals, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities or other high-risk congregate settings.
3. High-risk contracts of cases or other high-risk people.
4. State will use existing flu surveillance infrastructure to distribute tests around the state to start testing more broadly and get an idea of the spread of the virus.