REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Coronavirus: Long-Term Care
March 17, 2020
As you all know, yesterday I expanded measures on social distancing, in an effort to protect the health and safety of Oregon families, and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
I want to start by saying that I understand these measures will be extremely difficult, and that they have real-world impact for Oregonians.
I’ve been in touch with several of my fellow governors from across the country as we are weighing the pros and cons of making these difficult decisions for our states.
While these decisions are difficult, they are the only way to flatten the curve of transmission.
Now more than ever we need to work together, and stand strong together to fight this disease.
I thank you for joining me in this effort.
Adding to yesterday’s measures, the Oregon Department of Human Services, in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority, will be increasing restrictions on long-term care in Oregon to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We all know that older adults and people with underlying health conditions are among the most vulnerable to this disease.
The updated restrictions limit all visitors to residents except:
● essential medical and emergency personnel
● And to Oregonians who are in the end stages of life
Effective immediately, these additional restrictions apply to:
● Nursing facilities
● Residential care facilities
● Adult foster homes
● Group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
As we together work through this new reality of social distancing, I recognize that Oregon’s businesses are at the forefront, and in the initial stages of an economic slow-down.
This will only increase over time.
To stabilize our communities and businesses, I have convened a Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council to help minimize the adverse impacts this virus will have on our economy.
I’m particularly concerned about our small businesses, the mom-and-pops and their employees that are the heart of Oregon’s economy.
The council’s first meeting is today, and will bring together business leaders, labor representatives, state agency directors, and economists.
The goal of the council is to look at the variety of tools immediately available to provide relief to businesses, and support for workers.
This is important now and long-term to ensure Oregon remains a prosperous place to live, do business, and visit.
These conversations will help the state legislature and Congress in targeting legislation that will help our businesses and workers in need throughout the state.
What’s clear today is that we must all work together to overcome the impact of this virus on our economy, and on our daily lives.
The council will also develop a comprehensive plan for rebuilding our economy over the upcoming months.
I also want to encourage everyone to support our small businesses as much as we can right now. If you’re feeling up to it, please go out and grab take-out.
(Dan and I love our local pan-Asian take-out Nudi’s, but my staff with kids at home are loving curbside pickup from Thinker Toys and book order delivery from Annie Bloom’s books.)
And don’t forget that small gestures of kindness during this time can go a long way — offer to walk a neighbor’s dog, or order groceries for an elderly neighbor.
A quick update for you all on the federal front: In addition to two calls with the White House, I also just want Oregonians to know that my team and I had at least four calls with federal administration officials yesterday.
At the CDC, HHS and the Department of Homeland Security the professionals there are being as responsive as they can, and I appreciate it.
Wrapping up on positive note:
● 150 of the 197 school districts are serving meals for kids
● 42 of 49 Oregonian Princess Cruise passengers are back home
Every day we learn new things about coronavirus, and we understand a bit more how this evolving situation will affect Oregonians — and frankly, the entire global community.
This is extremely difficult for anyone who worries about how to care for their loved ones, which means it’s extremely difficult for everyone.
We are living in unprecedented times. Oregonians have always risen to the challenge in times of crisis, and I thank you once again for coming together as a statewide community to help each other out.
With that, I will open it up for questions.