A face mask. File photo: Chas Hundley

Governor Kate Brown has extended Oregon’s declaration of a state of emergency into 2021. 

The announcement came Tuesday, October 27 that the declaration would be extended by another 60 days, lasting until January 2, when it will almost certainly be extended further as the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The order was first made on March 8.

The declaration is an administrative and legal tool that allows Brown to make and maintain a number of subsequent emergency executive orders, such as those closing bars, shuttering schools, and more. 

“As early as January of this year, the Oregon Health Authority began its COVID-19 preparedness efforts as cases spread overseas. Since then, more than 600 Oregonians and over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 — and last week, we set a daily record with 550 new cases,” Brown said in a written statement.

"Extending the COVID-19 state of emergency is not something I do lightly, but we know all too well that not taking action would mean an even greater loss of life. The second wave of COVID-19 has arrived in the United States, and this time it is hitting all of our communities. 

My goal is to keep Oregon on track to open more schools for in-person instruction for our students — and to continue to reopen, and keep open, our businesses, communities, and economies. Oregon is not an island. Without safety precautions in place, we could quickly see our case counts spike as well. 

We must continue to work together and follow the simple steps that have kept us safe throughout this pandemic: washing our hands, wearing face coverings, watching our physical distance, staying home when sick, and avoiding social get-togethers, especially indoors.

As early as January of this year, the Oregon Health Authority began its COVID-19 preparedness efforts as cases spread overseas. Since then, more than 600 Oregonians and over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 — and last week, we set a daily record with 550 new cases.”

According to the Oregon Health Authority, the state attributes 664 deaths to COVID-19 as of Tuesday, October 27.

A handbook created by Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, and Columbia Counties has been created to walk individuals through the process of what comes next after a positive COVID-19 test.

In the guide, tips and suggestions on going into isolation and quarantine are laid out, with other tips throughout. Topics such as contact tracing, telling your close contacts and employers about your illness, testing facilities, halting the spread of germs, and managing respiratory symptoms at home are all outlined in the 20-page document. A temporary paid leave program for those without access to paid leave if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 has also been created.