Gov. Brown extends her pandemic emergency order another 60 days
Gov. Kate Brown has extended by 60 days her declaration of a state of emergency in Oregon during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The latest order will end on Sept. 4. She issued her original order on March 8 and has renewed it once.
The order is the legal underpinning for numerous others she has issued affecting child care, schools, higher education operations, and the gradual reopening of business activity and public life following the initial stay-at-home restrictions.
The Oregon Supreme Court upheld Brown's authority to issue such orders on June 12 despite a legal challenge by individuals and churches. A Baker County judge sided with the challengers, saying that Brown failed to secure legislative renewal of the orders after 28 days. Still, the high court decided that the judge misread the law and reversed his decision.
Although one of the lawyers representing some of the plaintiffs called on lawmakers to limit the duration of the governor's emergency orders, the recent special session of the Legislature did not consider such legislation.
Brown has scheduled an availability with reporters for Wednesday, July 1, on the cusp of the Independence Day holiday weekend.
Starting Wednesday, under another executive order she issued, Oregonians must wear face masks when they are in businesses or other indoor public spaces.
Brown's renewal of her order was no surprise as the number of coronavirus cases has risen in recent weeks. Of more than 8,600 confirmed and presumptive cases as of Tuesday, June 30, she said more than 25% had been reported in the first weeks of June.
The rest of her statement:
"While hospitalizations remain relatively low, we have seen how rapidly those numbers can climb. And, sadly, 207 Oregonians have lost their lives to this disease. Without a doubt, COVID-19 continues to pose a real and present threat to Oregonians in communities across the state, from Malheur County to Umatilla to Lincoln.
"In the months since those first cases were discovered, we have shored up our supplies of personal protective equipment, worked with counties to hire contact tracers, and — despite the failures of the federal government to supply Oregon with an equitable amount of testing materials — we have expanded our statewide testing capability. And, thanks to the tremendous sacrifices Oregonians made by staying home in the spring, we prevented 1,500 hospitalizations and over 70,000 COVID-19 infections.
"Now, we again find ourselves at a crossroads as a state. The individual choices each of us makes will decide whether Oregon either flattens the curve of new COVID-19 infections or sees a devastating spike in cases that overwhelms our hospital capacity in the next month.
"If we all follow the advice of doctors — if you wear a face covering in public, if you wash your hands, if you cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, if you stay home when you are sick — together, we can keep our friends and loved ones healthy and safe.
"If too many Oregonians continue to ignore these precautions, we could see an exponential growth in cases, and newly reopened communities and businesses could close again. We have a chance, now, before the Fourth of July weekend, to make sure that Oregon's COVID-19 numbers don't follow the same skyrocketing trajectory of states like Texas or Florida or Arizona.
"Oregon, you have a choice. You can help to save lives again. What happens next is up to all of us."
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