PORTLAND, Ore. — On Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order that extends the state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak through July 6.
The governor first declared a state of emergency March 8 and it was set to expire May 7. Extending the state of emergency for Oregon does not mean that Brown has extended the stay-home order, which is a separate order from the state of emergency.
State of emergency
The state of emergency allows Brown to "swiftly and fully deploy the personnel and resources necessary to address" the virus outbreak. The state of emergency helps speed up assistance to communities and makes resources available to those who need them.
When the state of emergency order was first issued in early March, officials told The Oregonian that the order would help Oregon:
- Create more COVID-19 testing sites at more regional hospitals.
- Bring in emergency volunteer healthcare professionals to add service, especially in rural communities.
- Expand telemedicine, or remote care, so patients can be screened and in some cases treated without exposing more people to the virus.
Charles Boyle, a spokesman for the governor's office, told The Oregonian on Friday that extending the state of emergency gives the governor the authority to maintain executive orders issued up to this point. It also gives the governor the authority to issue new orders if she deems it necessary.
Brown's stay-home order, which is separate from the state of emergency and was issued March 23, does not have a designated end date. The executive order states that it will remain in effect "until terminated by the governor."
On Friday, Brown said Oregon's strategy for reopening the state focuses on testing and contact tracing. She sent a document to counties across the state outlining seven prerequisites that must be met before any county or region can enter the first phase of the governor's "Reopening Oregon" plan.
The prerequisites focus on the reduction of the prevalence of COVID-19; establishing a minimum testing regimen; implementing a contact tracing system; having a working plan for isolation facilities; finalizing statewide sector guidelines; and ensuring sufficient health care capacity and personal protective equipment supply.
Brown even said that some rural parts of the state that have had few or no COVID-19 cases can likely start reopening as soon as May 15. But the process is expected to take longer for counties that have had more than five cases.
WATCH: KGW Q&A | YouTube playlist