SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown has issued another 60-day extension of Oregon's state of emergency prompted by coronavirus, bringing the keystone for her executive orders into early May.
The state of emergency declaration serves as the legal underpinning for all of Brown's coronavirus-related executive orders, making the Oregon Health Authority's health and safety guidance enforceable. It also allows state agencies to use federal COVID-19 relief and assistance, including for vaccine distribution.
The state of emergency survived a legal challenge months ago, after a Baker County Circuit Court judge temporarily rendered it "null and void." The Oregon Supreme Court threw out the Baker County ruling, siding with Brown's ability to issue and continue such a declaration for the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Brown last extended the state of emergency in the middle of December. This new extension will last until May 2, unless rescinded early.
“When I issued my first state of emergency declaration last March, there were 14 known cases of COVID-19 in Oregon,” said Governor Brown. “Today, we have now seen more than 150,000 cases across the state, and, sadly, 2,194 deaths.
“Throughout the pandemic, Oregonians have made smart choices that have protected our families and loved ones, and saved thousands of lives. We helped our doctors, nurses, and health care workers from being overwhelmed last spring, and again during the winter surge. Our infection and mortality rates have consistently remained some of the lowest in the country. And, for the first time, COVID-19 critical care units are seeing fewer and fewer patients.
“As we vaccinate thousands of Oregonians each day and reopen more school buildings and businesses as safely as possible, now is not the time to let up our guard. New, more infectious COVID-19 variants are circulating in the United States, including several confirmed cases in Oregon. We will continue to keep each other safe in the months to come by following the same safety measures we have throughout the pandemic—wearing face coverings, staying home when sick, maintaining physical distance, and avoiding social gatherings.”