PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday extended Oregon's state of emergency declaration for another 60 days. It will continue until June 28.
The declaration legally authorizes Brown’s COVID-19 executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) health and safety guidance. Extending the declaration allows those orders to remain in effect.
Brown and OHA officials have said Oregon is the midst of a fourth surge of COVID-19. This week, Brown announced that 15 Oregon counties will move back to the extreme COVID-19 risk level on Friday.
There have been 182,916 known cases of COVID-19 in Oregon and the state's COVID death toll is 2,490. Over the past two weeks, Oregon's coronavirus cases have jumped by more than 50%, the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Here's the full text of Brown's statement:
"We are in the middle of the fourth surge of COVID-19 in Oregon, driven by more contagious variants of the disease. We must stop hospitalizations from spiking, so we can save lives, help our nurses and doctors weather this surge, and ensure no Oregonian is denied vital health care. Tomorrow, 15 counties are moving to the Extreme Risk Level, with nine more in High Risk. Hospitalizations nearly doubled in the last two weeks, to well over 300.
"At this time last year, there was so much we did not know about how to stop the spread of this deadly disease. Now, more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregonians know the best ways to avoid spreading infection: limiting gatherings when cases are high, wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance, staying home when sick, and––most importantly––getting vaccinated as soon as possible. We just have to hold on for a few weeks longer.
"I intend to fully reopen our economy by the end of June, and the day is approaching when my emergency orders can eventually be lifted. How quickly we get there is up to each and every one of us doing our part. Over 1.7 million Oregonians have received at least one dose of vaccine, and over 1.2 million are fully vaccinated against this deadly disease.
"But the overwhelming majority of our new COVID-19 cases are from people who have not yet been vaccinated. Younger, unvaccinated Oregonians are now showing up in our hospitals with severe cases of COVID-19. Right now, more than ever, as we see the path over the peak of the spring surge and down the other side, we need Oregonians to step up and take on the personal responsibility to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself, your friends, and your loved ones. They are also the quickest path toward lifting restrictions.
"Today, I am lifting Oregon’s executive order for price gouging related to the pandemic, because the days of hand sanitizer and, yes, toilet paper scarcity are far behind us. In the weeks to come, as the number of fully vaccinated Oregonians continues to grow, we will be able to lift the emergency orders and state regulations that have kept us safe for the past year."