REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Press Conference - Statewide Reopening Pause Announcement
June 12, 2020
Hello everyone and thank you for joining us today.
I want to acknowledge that we typically have simultaneous Spanish interpretation with us for press conferences. We were not able to secure services this morning but we will provide translation online. Lo siento.
I am here with Pat Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority and Dr. Dean Sidelinger, our state epidemiologist.
I will keep my remarks brief.
When we began reopening nearly a month ago, I was clear that COVID-19 case counts would rise. Unfortunately, we now see that happening in several parts of the state, in both urban areas and rural communities.
As I have said before, reopening comes with real risk. That’s why we are carefully monitoring the ability of our public health system to respond to COVID-19 cases without becoming overwhelmed.
The noticeable increase in COVID-19 infections in Oregon over the past week is cause for concern.
In order to slow the transmission of the virus, I am putting all pending county reopening applications on hold for seven days.
This is essentially a statewide “yellow light.”
This one week pause will give our public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine if we need to adjust our approach to reopening.
I will continue to work with doctors and public health experts to assess whether to:
● Lift this pause,
● Or extend the pause,
● Or make other adjustments.
As a reminder we currently have:
● Twenty-nine counties in Phase 2.
● Three counties -- Clackamas, Lincoln, and Washington -- are in Phase 1 and have not yet applied for Phase 2.
● Three counties -- Hood River, Marion, and Polk -- are in Phase 1 and have applied for Phase 2. These applications are being put on hold for one week.
● And Multnomah County is still in baseline status. County leaders have applied for Phase 1. I have put their application on hold for one week, as well.
If you want to get full details on the reopening status in your community, go online to: coronavirus.oregon.gov
I know how frustrating it is to have to move slowly. We all wish this reopening could be faster.
Oregonians should know that county leaders are working extraordinarily hard to make reopening possible.
But my job, however, is to make tough decisions, even when they are unpopular. And when it comes to the health and safety of Oregonians, the buck stops here.
To all of the business owners who had planned to reopen this weekend, I want to acknowledge how difficult this is for all of you.
Many of you have invested significant time and resources into reopening safely: ordering supplies, hiring staff, and just keeping the lights on.
However, as Dr. Fauci has said, “we don't make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”
Now, no matter what county you live in, today’s decision to pause as a state, is a clear reminder that we need to double down on the simple but effective precautions each of us should take to reduce the spread of the disease:
1. Wear a face covering.
2. Keep a physical distance of six feet.
3. Avoid large gatherings.
4. Keep it local. If you want to get outside, stay close to home.
5. Wash your hands, cover your cough, and please, please, please stay home when you’re sick.
Now I will turn it over to Pat Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority.