Governor: No shelter-in-place order planned to combat COVID-19
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she is not considering a shelter-in-place order for all Oregonians, despite media reports that the city of Portland may be considering one.
Willamette Week reported Wednesday, March 18, that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was considering such a ban, which would limit travel severely for Portland residents and require them to stay home except in specific circumstances.
"Complying with these aggressive measures will save lives."
But on Thursday, March 19, Brown said no order is being considered at the state level. "Our current focus should be on communicating the aggressive social distancing measures already in place," Brown said. "We've already restricted Oregonians significantly. It is critically important we all follow these guidelines to protect ourselves and our neighbors. This is literally an act of saving lives."
Brown has already shuttered restaurants, schools, college campuses and all public gatherings expected to draw more than 25 people as a way to curb the spread of the virus. But a shelter-in-place order isn't entirely off the table. Brown said she plans to create an interagency group to consider what essential businesses would be allowed to continue operating if a shelter in place order were issued. "That's only preparatory," Brown insisted. "We do want to be prepared."
Brown said such an order would come only with consultation from local health experts. "We are relying on public health experts and epidemiologists," Brown said. "The best information we have is that the aggressive actions I've taken will work if — and it's a big if — Oregonians adhere to them."
Dr. Renee Edwards, chief medical officer for Oregon Health & Science University said Wednesday, March 18, that the university would support Brown if she issued the shelter-in-place order. Brown said March 19 that Edwards also supported the current approach to dealing with the spread of the disease.
"Complying with these aggressive measures will save lives," Brown said. "One of those lives could be your own."
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