Portland Mayor Wheeler: COVID-19 cases could peak soon, but danger remains
Mayor Ted Wheeler said he currently expects COVID-19 cases to peak in Oregon in the first or second week of April. He expects the state of emergency that he announced on March 21 will continue to be needed for some period after that, however, and will rely on advice from health care officials about when it can be lifted.
In the meantime, Wheeler will renew the state of emergency for two weeks, beginning Wednesday, March 25. The next day, the City Council will consider what it can do to help businesses survive the shutdown and Oregon Gov. Brown's stay-at-home order to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease.
Some of what the council will consider will come from an advisory committee of more than 100 business leaders and others Wheeler has appointed.
That was some of the news that came out a briefing Wheeler and other Portland officials held on Tuesday, March 24, to detail how Portland is responding to the pandemic. Participants included the heads of the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire & Rescue, and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.
According to Police Chief Jami Resch:
• In the 10 days after the state of emergency was declared, police dispatches to suicide-related calls increased 41% over the same time last year, including 23% since then.
• Requests for emergency food boxes from the Portland Police Bureau's Sunshine Division have increased more than six times compared with the same time period in 2019, and are up eight times from prior to the emergency declaration.
• Dispatched police calls in the city are down 10%.
Although there have been some news reports that domestic violence calls have increased, Resch sad she doesn't yet have the statistics to back that up.
Wheeler also said the City Council will hold a hearing Thursday on helping businesses deal with the effect of the economic shutdown. Wheeler said he has appointed an advisory committee of more than 100 business leaders and others who are advising him.
The common theme of the briefing: We're all in this together.
"I want you to know we will get through this," Wheeler said, "and get through it together."
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