PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Thursday that she will be lifting the order that has postponed all elective and non-emergency medical procedures in the state due to the COVID-19 crisis.
If health care providers can prove that they "have met new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness," they will be able to resume all other procedures starting May 1. This includes hospitals, surgical centers, medical offices, and dental offices.
“As anyone waiting for an elective surgery knows, ‘non-urgent’ does not mean ‘minor,'” said Governor Brown. “This is incredibly important medical care that we would not have told providers to delay if the threat of COVID-19 had not made it necessary."
Most routine procedures at medical and dental facilities were put on hold in order to preserve PPE and hospital surge capacity as coronavirus cases began to mount in Oregon over the beginning of March. Governor Brown issued the executive order on March 19, with most aspects of it going into effect exactly one month ago, on March 23.
"Many Oregonians have been hoping for this news," Brown said.
Under the Governor's requirements, medical providers will need to show that they can minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission to patients and healthcare workers, maintain adequate hospital capacity in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases, and support the health care workforce in safely resuming activities.
The requirements include having enough PPE available for health care workers, and adequate testing capacity. Those benchmarks have become the baseline for both state and federal plans to reopen state economies.
Brown's hosted a press teleconference at 11 a.m. on Thursday with Dr. Dana Hargunani of the Oregon Health Authority and Dr. Bruce Goldberg of the Governor’s Medical Advisory Panel to detail the change.
“I would like to thank Oregonians for the sacrifices they have made during this crisis to ensure that our health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need to treat COVID-19 patients," Brown said. "Lifting this order will allow our health care system to get up and running again, with appropriate safeguards in place, so that Oregonians can get health care treatment without delay.”