Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the action on March 8 after the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) identified seven new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 14. No deaths due to the virus have been reported in the state.
“Nine days ago, I announced we had Oregon’s first case of COVID-19 coronavirus. Late yesterday evening, we learned of seven new cases in Oregon, bringing the total number of cases in our state to 14. I understand that this news is very concerning. I want to reiterate how seriously we are taking this situation,” Brown said at a press conference.
“I’ve consulted with Oregon Health Authority, and I am declaring a state of emergency to make sure we are able to swiftly deploy the personnel and resources necessary to address coronavirus in Oregon.”
The state of emergency, which will remain in effect for 60 days but can be extended, gives the Oregon Health Authority and Office of Emergency Management all resources at the state’s disposal to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the governor said.
“Specifically, it activates Oregon’s reserves of emergency health care professionals. This is particularly important because of the cases identified in rural Oregon. It unlocks valuable support to help local public health authorities.”
Of the seven new cases announced March 8, officials said none were related to international travel. The new cases are a result of community spread.
As of March 8, the number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the United States stands at 22, with more than 550 people testing positive for the virus across 34 states and the District of Columbia—including 70 who were repatriated from Wuhan and the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess cruise ships.
However, health authorities say the risk of Americans contracting the virus “remains low,” and have advised people to help limit the spread of the disease by regularly and thoroughly washing hands and staying more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
Those who have mild symptoms should self-isolate while recovering, and those who develop fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical advice promptly but should contact their health provider in advance and inform them of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
Of the 22 deaths, the majority have occurred in Washington state, which reported a total of 18 fatalities; Florida has reported two deaths, while California has reported one. In recent days, Kansas, Missouri, and the District of Columbia announced their first cases of the virus.
Washington, Florida, and California were among the first states to declare an emergency, followed by Kentucky, New York, Maryland, and Utah.