President Donald Trump has announced that federal guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus will now extend to April 30.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has launched a public awareness campaign urging Oregonians to follow social distancing guidelines she order in place earlier this month.
The Oregon Health Authority reported a total of 16 deaths and 606 cases of coronavirus as of Monday, March 30. Columbia County recorded its first case of coronavirus on March 27.
Health care workers and first responders are seeking additional personal protective equipment to deal with the severe shortage statewide and across the country as they cope with the rising cases of coronavirus.
Schools in St. Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and other Columbia County cities are moving ahead with remote learning programs for students to help continue their public education. The districts are also continuing Grab and Go meal sites for students in need.
K-12 schools are closed until at least April 28 under Gov. Brown's Stay at Home order.
Following the directive of Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon Emergency Management has activated Oregon’s Unified Command structure, the state’s incident command emergency response organizational structure, similar to the response structure that would be activated during a major Cascadia earthquake.
On Monday, March 30, OEM Director Andrew Phelps gave his first status update from the Joint Information Center about the state’s response to COVID-19.
While all emergencies begin and end at the local level, the spread of COVID-19 has outpaced the personnel, capacity, and resources of local communities in Oregon, according to Phelps.
“In these unusual and dire circumstances,” Phelps said, “The ECC is charged with coordinating collective efforts at a statewide level to stem the outbreak of COVID-19 throughout Oregon, working as one team, with one voice, to serve every single Oregonian.”
Phelps is coordinating the state’s response to COVID-19 from the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) in Salem, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority in that agency’s efforts to coordinate the public health response to COVID-19. Under OEM there are 18 emergency support functions. These functions describe how Oregon’s 33 state agencies will provide and coordinate necessary resources during an emergency.
A key example of how this larger structure works is the assembly and dissemination of personal protective equipment, or PPE. PPE includes items like gowns, masks and gloves that healthcare workers use frequently to protect themselves and their patients. The ECC’s PPE distribution center in Wilsonville is now fully operational. From this location, ECC staff will proactively send PPE out to county emergency managers, tribes and the state.
“COVID-19 affects everyone in Oregon – all 36 counties, all nine tribes,” Phelps said. “As we continue to fight the spread of this virus, I want to thank everyone for what they are doing to help flatten the curve, especially our first responders and front line workers. And I’d like to remind Oregonians that the best way they can help is to stay home to save lives.”
Updated information about Oregon’s response to COVID-19 will be available at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19.
Phelps’ daily briefings can be viewed https://oregon-coronavirus-geo.hub.arcgis.com/. (When it has been uploaded)