Oregon Extends State of Emergency, Cites Possible Surge in Omicron Hospitalizations

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
December 22, 2021 Updated: December 22, 2021

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday extended the state’s declaration of a state of emergency through June 2022, saying the state is preparing for a surge in hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

“As Oregon prepares for what could be our worst surge in hospitalizations during this pandemic, I know that this is not the beginning of the new year any of us had hoped for,” Brown, a Democrat, said.

Brown in an executive order cited the newly detected, highly transmissible Omicron variant, which is “spreading quickly around the globe.”

The variant “offers yet another challenge that we learn more about each day,” the governor said.

“However, as we continue to navigate Delta, Omicron, and any other future variants that COVID-19 brings, my goals remain the same: to save lives, support doctors, nurses, and health care workers, and keep Oregon businesses, schools, and communities open,” Brown said.

The governor acknowledged that people are becoming “tired of this virus” and “the actions we must take to mitigate the risks of the virus.”

“And yet, this virus continues to threaten and cause widespread sickness, hospitalization, and death for all Oregonians,” she added. “Even for those who will not be made seriously ill by COVID-19, threats to hospital capacity impact us all.”

The move will ensure that the state will continue to receive federal funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon’s declaration of a state of emergency now remains in effect until June 30.

Brown’s messaging echoes similar remarks made by Biden administration officials in recent days, amid a surge in COVID-19 infections being fueled by the Omicron variant, which was first detected by doctors in Africa first less than a month ago.

President Joe Biden on Dec. 16 issued a stark warning, saying that the White House believes the unvaccinated will experience a winter of “severe illness and death.”

“If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death,” Biden said during a press briefing.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients echoed his remarks the following day.

“We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this,” Zients said. “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”

CDC officials said they do not yet have estimates of how many hospitalizations or deaths are due to the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.