Face masks. Photo: Chas Hundley

The current extension of Governor Kate Brown's executive order declaring a state of emergency hasn't expired, but Brown went ahead and extended it by 60 days today, the governor announced in a press release.

Originally slated to end on January 2, but expected to be extended before it could expire, the governor's announcement pushes the state of emergency to March 3, 2021.

The first incarnation of the emergency declaration was made on March 8. The extension to March 3 is the fifth extension to the original order.

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 we near 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, and with hospitals and health care workers stretched to their limits, there is no doubt that COVID-19 continues to pose a public health threat,” said Brown. “We continue to lose too many Oregonians to this deadly disease, including over 100 reported deaths in the last two days.”

“These are the darkest days of this pandemic. And yet, hope has arrived. Beginning this week, each time another Oregonian is vaccinated against COVID-19, we are one step closer to the day when we can return to normal life. In the meantime, we must keep up our guard. Protect your friends and loved ones by continuing to follow health and safety protocols. Wear a face covering, avoid gatherings, stay home when you are sick––and, together, we can drive down COVID-19 infections and save lives.”

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On Thursday, the Oregon Health Authority announced that 21 more Oregonians had died after contracting COVID-19, raising the state’s death toll to 1,283. Added to the roll of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases were 1,339 new cases for a total of 98,936 cases since the onset of the pandemic. 

Of the newly reported deaths, two were Washington County residents. 

Oregon’s hospital system had 551 hospitalized patients as of Monday, three fewer than the previous day, with 113 people in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, unchanged from the prior day, according to the Oregon Health Authority.