REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Press Conference - August 7, 2020
August 7, 2020
Hello and thank you for being here.
Dr. Sidelinger, our state epidemiologist, is going to give us updates on the latest modeling and public health data.
Thank you, Doctor.
I just want to offer a few reflections and then we’ll take questions.
I see this data as a sign of progress, an indication that our approach is taking us in the right direction.
I have implemented a number of public health and safety precautions over the past few months.
Oregonians are now required to wear face coverings while in public indoor spaces and while outdoors if you can’t maintain a physical distance. Face coverings are required in many businesses and we are preparing guidelines for face covering requirements for indoor office settings as well.
Covering your face is a small act that makes a big difference.
We also have limited occupancy requirements almost everywhere now: restaurants, the zoo, gyms, and places of worship.
And businesses are implementing strict health and safety protocols. Our stepped up enforcement from state agencies shows that the overwhelming number of businesses are doing their part to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.
Finally, the mandate that indoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people or less is still in effect.
Listen, I know that these measures are hard and require sacrifices on all of our parts. This disease has affected the very fabric of our lives.
So many of us have canceled birthday parties or family reunions or big gatherings. Personally, I will never again take for granted the simple act of being together with friends and family. I celebrated my 60th birthday in June with no big party, just me and my spouse and a glass of Oregon wine.
But we have to keep at it. I want as many schools as possible to be able to open for in person education -- at the very least for the younger grades -- but we will only be able to do so when it is safe for students and staff.
That means continuing to lower the spread of the virus -- by keeping consistent with our actions to reduce the spread.
Wear your face covering whenever you leave the house. Remind your friends and family to wear theirs, too. And make sure the darn thing covers your nose!
If you get a call from a contract tracer, answer it. This helps us manage the spread and makes sure we can support you during your quarantine.
Keep your social circle really tight.
Stay connected by phone or video conference. Get outdoors. Go for a hike. But keep your bubble small. And consistent.
We’re in this for the long haul.
Here’s the good news:
These strategies work. As long as we keep using them.
Just ask community members in Lincoln County and Union County. Both communities faced huge outbreaks not long ago. Hundreds of people contracted the virus. Fear spread quickly.
All of a sudden everyone knew someone who was testing positive.
And these communities came together.
With the hard work of local public health leaders and the help of the Oregon Health Authority, they expanded testing. Community members distributed masks and encouraged people to wear them.
They tracked cases and got the word out. People with the virus stayed home, even when they weren’t showing symptoms.
And local elected officials in both counties made tough decisions, rolling back or delaying business reopening plans.
Today both counties have dramatically lower COVID-19 case counts. They did the hard work and slowed the spread of the virus.
Because here in Oregon, when we face long odds, we pull together. We help one another.
We are stronger together.
So, keep it up Oregon. Wear a face covering. Watch your distance. And wash, wash, wash your hands.