SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Thursday that she has extended Oregon's coronavirus state of emergency for another 60 days, into the beginning of March.
The emergency declaration serves as the legal underpinning for all of Brown's coronavirus-related executive orders — such as the recent "risk level" framework for restrictions — and the Oregon Health Authority's health and safety guidance.
“As we near 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, and with hospitals and health care workers stretched to their limits, there is no doubt that COVID-19 continues to pose a public health threat,” said Governor Brown. “We continue to lose too many Oregonians to this deadly disease, including over 100 reported deaths in the last two days.”
“These are the darkest days of this pandemic. And yet, hope has arrived," Brown continued. "Beginning this week, each time another Oregonian is vaccinated against COVID-19, we are one step closer to the day when we can return to normal life. In the meantime, we must keep up our guard. Protect your friends and loved ones by continuing to follow health and safety protocols. Wear a face covering, avoid gatherings, stay home when you are sick––and, together, we can drive down COVID-19 infections and save lives.”
State officials have cautioned that, despite a vaccine's arrival, it will take months for enough Oregonians to receive the vaccine for anything like herd immunity to emerge. That would require an estimated three-fourths of Oregonians — more than three million people — to be inoculated.
With that in mind, Brown and the OHA have continued to urge precautions and enforce restrictions aimed at suppressing spread of the virus, likely well into 2021.