REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Oregon League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Townhall
October 7, 2020
Hello everyone, Governor Kate Brown here.
I want to thank the Oregon League of United Latin American Citizens for putting together this town hall. Events like these are a reminder to us all that when we’re dealing with the catastrophic effects of wildfires, we’re not dealing with it alone.
Along with COVID-19, the wildfires burning our state are compounding existing systemic hardships for our Latino, Latina, Latinx folks and Oregon’s historically underserved communities.
But during this really difficult time, we have the opportunity to come back from it stronger by centering our Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, people of color communities and tribal communities at the forefront of our work.
I want to highlight some resources that may be available to you:
For families or households who are undocumented or have mixed immigration status, you may still be eligible for FEMA assistance.
I understand there are concerns around public charge, and I have asked my staff to evaluate those concerns. At this point, according to the current public charge rule, Emergency Disaster Relief is not considered a public charge.
Here in Oregon, we are also offering Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits (DUA).
DUA benefits are available to those unemployed as a direct result of the Oregon wildfires in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties—and who are not eligible for any other unemployment benefits.
The Employment Department is prioritizing the claims of people impacted by the fire, regardless of what type of claim they are filing.
I encourage folks to visit oregon.gov/employ/disaster for more information on how to apply, including locations for picking up paper applications, answers to frequently asked questions, and more.
Before I hand it off to the moderator for the panel discussion I’d like to give you an update on the COVID-19 situation in Oregon, and how we can continue to keep ourselves, our families and our neighbors safe from this virus.
Many of our Latina, Latino, and Latinx families are on the frontlines of this pandemic – as health care providers, agriculture and custodial workers, business owners, food processing.
It is essential to support workers who find themselves in these situations where they are more likely to become infected simply by going to work. This is why we invested $10 million in the Quarantine Fund to ensure that agricultural workers can seek care, get treatment, isolate and quarantine. Please continue to apply for this support!
Additionally, we also have a COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program for workers who do not have paid time off. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you will get a $120 per-day payment, up to 10 working days ($1,200 total) for the time you need to quarantine or isolate. You can apply online or call (503) 947-0131.
You may have heard that we anticipate Oregon’s share will be increased to roughly 80,000 rapid antigen tests per week.
This is huge.
The Oregon Health Authority is expanding their testing guidelines to include all close contacts of people who have been infected, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms.
Let me be clear, we cannot test our way out of this pandemic. But, with this increased testing capacity, we hope to be able to diagnose more people quickly so they can get the care they need and help contain the virus.
We will also prioritize testing for our most vulnerable communities, such as our migrant and agriculture workers; our communities of color; and our seniors.
In the meantime, we want you to feel safe answering calls from contact tracers. Your information is strictly confidential. It will not be shared with other agencies, including immigration officials.
A contact tracer will ask if you need an interpreter in a language other than English, ask about your symptoms and check in with you if you need food, a place to stay or other supports to monitor your symptoms and needs. They will never ask about immigration status or Social Security Number or charge you anything.
So please, answer the call, so that contact tracers can help keep you and your families safe.
Along with these services, I want to quickly remind you all that we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by working together and following the 3 Ws: wear your mask, watch your distance, wash wash wash your hands!
I know these times are incredibly difficult with so much uncertainty. We need your help with these precautions. The only way out of this crisis is through it, and we’ll only get through it together.
Thank you and stay safe out there.