Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Sunday declared a state of emergency as the confirmed coronavirus cases across the state doubled from seven to 14.
Brown announced an executive order this morning after initially confirming the state of emergency at roughly 8 p.m. local time Saturday night through a verbal proclamation. It will remain in effect for 60 days, unless extended by officials.
“I’ve consulted with Oregon Health Authority and I am declaring a state of emergency to make sure we are able to swiftly deploy the personnel and resources necessary to address coronavirus in Oregon,” the state’s governor said at a news conference on Sunday. “I can assure you that local and state health officials are working around the clock to address this crisis.”
“We will do everything in our power to keep Oregonians safe,” she added. “As your governor, I want to reiterate how seriously we are taking this situation.”
Brown’s remarks come after the Oregon Health Authority announced seven additional confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus earlier Sunday morning, bringing the total up to 14 across the state. The state of emergency will help garner more resources for Oregon officials to contain and respond to the outbreak.
All seven new patients were hospitalized when they were diagnosed, according to Oregon Live, and they are believed to have contracted the virus through community spread or contact with other infected individuals.
Newsweek reached out to the Oregon Health Authority for additional information.
The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) informed its roughly 16,500 employees that one patient had tested as a presumptive positive for the virus in an email sent this weekend. “Our Occupational Health team has activated standard precaution protocols, including reviewing all room logs and Epic updates to identify close contacts,” OHSU President Danny Jacobs said. “Any employees, trainees and visitors who may have been exposed are being contacted directly.”
“Because OHSU screens patients prior to admission, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and asks anyone with respiratory symptoms to wear a mask, the risk of employee exposure is low,” he added.
More than 400 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S. and over a dozen people have died from the disease as of Saturday. The national death toll increased to 19 after Washington state confirmed two additional deaths due to the virus Saturday. As community spread was confirmed in the East and West coasts this weekend, the total number of confirmed cases increased by 117 across the U.S. on Saturday.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands: after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handlings animals or waste.
- Maintain at least one meter (three feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.