Here's the latest information you need to know about coronavirus in Oregon, plus a key link to bookmark, to the Oregon Health Authority's dedicated coronavirus page, which is updated regularly with new data on the spread of the disease.
Here are a few other useful links:
We will update this post as news about the virus continues to unfold.
DISASTER DECLARATION: Per The Oregonian, "The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Sunday that President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon, freeing federal emergency aid to supplement Oregon’s fight against the coronavirus." The disaster declaration, which is back-dated to January 20, allows federal funding for state and tribal governments, as well as local governments and nonprofits for emergency protective measures as the coronavirus continues to spread, according to FEMA.
KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD ALIVE: Gov. Kate Brown has launched a new statewide ad campaign, "Stay Home, Save Live," a public-private partnership with Wieden+Kennedy, the Oregon Health Authority and public health partners to communicate to Oregonians about how they can do their part to contain the spread of COVID-19. The campaign will appear on television, radio, on social media, and online. “We created this campaign with the Governor because we don’t want to look back and wish we had done more. We have a lot of heart for Oregon and all who live here, and we know that staying home will save lives. This campaign provides clarity and conviction around what staying at home means — and how we all have a role to play to help our community,” said Jason Bagley and Eric Baldwin, executive creative directors at Wieden+Kennedy Portland. Great idea. Perhaps, a little grim? See for yourself:
MORE NEW CASES: Today, the Oregon Health Authority reported one new coronavirus death and 98 new cases, the largest single-day increase in Oregon to date. While that number may seem large, Dawn Mautner, senior health advisor at OHA, assures the surge in positive cases is to be expected because of the state's increase in testing capacity. Watch:
STIMULUS SIGNED: According to the New York Times, President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a $2 trillion measure designed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. "The legislation will send direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000, and an additional $500 per child. It will substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, and for the first time will extend the payments to freelancers and gig workers."
PLEASE CLAP: Mayor Ted Wheeler is encouraging Portlanders to follow cities around the world that are sharing a nightly cheer to honor and thank health care workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting March 27, at 7 p.m. every day until the COVID-19 pandemic is officially over, Wheeler is encouraging citizens to cheer, clap, and cry out for its heroes. "Our nurses, doctors, and first responders continue to risk their health and well-being every single day to make sure the sickest among us get the care they need," Wheeler wrote in a press release. "Other community heroes like grocery store employees, delivery drivers, chefs, and others make sure we have food on the table. Let’s boost the morale for all those who are struggling as well - a nightly reminder that no one is alone."
OUTDOORS NO MORE: The US Forest Service has locked the gates to seemingly every wilderness area within a few hours of Portland. That includes Mt. Hood, the entire Columbia River Gorge stretching east to the Deschutes River, and Gifford Pinchot—over 1.3 million acres in southwest Washington including Mt. Adams and Mount St. Helens. “After conducting a risk analysis of Forest Service recreation sites within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, it became apparent that there are too many people converging on both developed and unofficial recreation sites to ensure proper social distancing. Crowd sizes were too large to comply with current health authority guidelines,” explained Rachel Pawlitz, public affairs officer for the Gorge, in a statement Thursday afternoon.
A ROOM AT THE JUPITER: Portland Mercury reports The Jupiter Hotel is making 81 rooms available for houseless Portlanders showing symptoms of COVID-19. "We are just so honored to be able to contribute to the health and safety of some of Portland's most vulnerable communities," said Nick Pearson, the hotel's general manager, at a Thursday press conference. "Once we started talking to the county about what their needs were, it was really a no-brainer for us to work together."
WE'RE NUMBER ONE: You may have noticed "we're number 1" trending on Twitter. That's because the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, has the most reported coronavirus cases in the world. With more than 82,000 confirmed cases reported Thursday, the U.S. has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589). In the U.S., the coronavirus death toll stands at about 1,200. In China, almost 3,300 have died. In Italy, about 8,200 have died.
BREAKING: The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 82,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. https://t.co/gBPqO8jpx5— The Associated Press (@AP) March 26, 2020
STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he would be extending his State of Emergency declaration for the city for two weeks, until April 9. “We’re still on the upside of the contagion curve, so now is not the time to suspend an emergency declaration,” Mayor Wheeler said. “We collectively decide how deep and how long this crisis lasts. We’ll get through this together. Stay home, stay healthy in the meantime.”
PPE CRISIS: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown expressed her frustration at the federal response at her daily press briefing, saying the state has received just 25 percent of the Personal Protective Equipment requested from the federal government. She lauded the fact that Oregon could make more, with experience and equipment ready to scale up manufacturing. "What's the barrier? It's the federal government," she said, adding she expected to follow a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence about the shortage with a phone call today. "Basically, we've got a quarter of what we need, and the feds are not providing clear guidance around how to fast track the manufacture of more." Oregon currently has 2,028 available non-ICU beds, 394 available ICU beds, and 608 available ventilators.
SOCIAL DISTANCING: Brown encouraged all those who feel their workplace is unsafe, or not adhering to social distancing policies, to contact the Bureau of Labor and Industry and OSHA to file a complaint. The Governor said concerns from employees around the state will be taken into account when assessing decisions going forward.
THE DEETS: The Oregon Health Authority, facing criticism from local news outlets, released more detailed information about the state's COVID-19 response, including demographics on the growing number of cases in Oregon. According to Willamette Week, of the 266 COVID-19 cases (OHA reported 55 new cases on Wednesday), "The data show the majority of the state's cases are among people ages 60 to 69."
A MOMENT OF NECESSITY: According to the New York Times, "the Senate on Wednesday moved toward a vote on a sweeping, roughly $2 trillion measure to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, after Democrats and Republicans reached a deal with the Trump administration on direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses." The stimulus package, the largest in modern US history, is expected to be signed within the next few days, and aims to benefit American businesses and companies forced to shut their doors, those who have lost their income or jobs, and hospitals in need of medical supplies. “This is not a moment of celebration, but one of necessity,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader. “To all Americans I say, ‘Help is on the way.’”
SUMMER OLYMPICS POSTPONED: As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow around the world, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games would be postponed until 2021. In a joint statement with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Tokyo organizers, Abe said the games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021” to ensure the health of athletes and community members. So what does this mean for Oregon? Well, as a result of the postponement, TrackTown USA in Eugene announced that it is working to reschedule the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field, originally set for June 19–28 at Hayward Field. According to OPB, if the Olympic trials are postponed to 2021, that could also push forward the World Athletics Championships, also set in Eugene in August 2021.
CASES CONTINUE TO GROW IN OREGON: The Oregon Health Authority reported 18 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the states total to 209. The virus has also claimed three more lives in the state, bringing the death total to eight.
STAY AT HOME: Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order for Oregonians to "Stay Home, Save Lives." The definitive decision follows backlash after Brown said on Friday she had only considered a "shelter in place" order in places like California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey. Outlined in the executive order are regulations, enforceable by law, for (essential and non-essential) businesses, childcare facilities, and citizens to adhere. Read more about the stay at home order here.
LAST CALL: ... for Oregon State Parks. Oregon Parks and Recreation released a statement Monday saying it would close all state parks starting March 23, following Gov. Kate Brown's executive order to stay at home. “We would have preferred an orderly shutdown of the system and to remain open for daytime visits, but our concern for the effects on rural health care systems requires us to move up and expand our plans,” says Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. City and county parks and other public land managers are open at their discretion, with the recommendation they do so only if they can adhere to social distancing practices.
MORE NEW CASES: The Oregon Health Authority reported 24 new COVID-19 cases and one new death. This brings the state's positive COVID-19 cases total to 161, and the state's death total to five.
THE FRONTLINES: Around $4 million in state funding will go toward Local Public Health Authorities (LPHA), Tribes and Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA – the Urban Indian Health Program in Oregon) to support their COVID-19 response, according to the Oregon Health Authority and other official. The funds can be used to support local and tribal COVID-19 response, including: reporting, monitoring, and controlling of the virus within communities; identification and screening of individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus; educations, prevention, and communication to share information with the public and community partners. “Local health authorities are on the frontlines of this epidemic and leading the response,” said Jocelyn Warren, PhD, MPH, Public Health Division Manager Lane County and current Conference of Local Health Officials chair. "This vitally important funding will ensure that their ability to respond increases in line with the severity of the crisis.”
SPRING BREAK IN PLACE: Twenty-five Portland-area mayors have called for a statewide stay-at-home order, according to OPB. Gov. Kate Brown has previously said she is not in favor of a so-called "shelter-in-place" order, but the Metropolitan Mayors Consortium have advised Brown to enforce social distance requirements at all times, prohibit non-essential travel, order non-essential businesses to reduce their activities to minimum operations, and prohibit public and private gatherings, with exceptions. Our own Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted this:
Bumper to bumper traffic headed to the coast.— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) March 21, 2020
Reports of block parties on streets.
I cannot stress this enough.#COVID19 continues to spread because people don't know they have it.
Please #StayAtHome to #FlattenTheCurve and #SlowTheSpread.https://t.co/PM20VojkYk
MORE NEW CASES: The Oregon Health Authority reported 23 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total up to 137. OHA also reported that COVID-19 had claimed another life. According to OHA, "Oregon’s fourth COVID-19 death is a 72-year-old woman in Marion County, who tested positive on March 15, and died March 20 at Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center. She had underlying medical conditions." Oregon's total death toll from coronavirus is now four.
STAY HOME TO STAY HEALTHY: Amid criticism they were not moving fast enough to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County Deborah Kafoury told Oregon citizens on Friday evening in no uncertain terms that they should “stay home to stay healthy.” That stops slightly short of the “shelter in place” edict currently in place in the state of California. And Friday night’s at times confusing press conference suggested Wheeler was closer to issuing such a mandate for the city of Portland than Brown was to doing so statewide. “Your actions now mean the difference between life and death for yourself and for others,” Brown said. The three officials did not say that businesses remaining open or people congregating in parks would face fines or other measures from law enforcement. But they pleaded with Oregonians to spring break in place and stay home unless absolutely necessary instead of venturing to the beach or to the mountains, spreading the virus even more quickly. It’s OK to leave your home for a grocery run, to get gas, to check on elderly friends and neighbors, and to go for a walk, a bike ride, a skateboard, or a hike, the three said, provided you are not in a crowded area where you can’t maintain the recommended six-foot buffer from anyone who is not in your household. Consumer-facing businesses that cannot move to a takeout model, like theaters and gyms, should close down, Brown added, and discussions are under way over a statewide moratorium on rental evictions. Brown said she expects the legislature to convene for an emergency session within the next few weeks to dedicate funding to coping with the considerable effects of the coronavirus. For his part, Wheeler said that more stringent regulations for the city of Portland are imminent, potentially by Monday.
CONVENTION CENTER TRANSFORMATION: According to the Oregonian, the Oregon Convention Center, owned by Metro, will transform into a 130-bed shelter, becoming the second temporary shelter in Portland to open to help houseless individuals affected by coronavirus. “Metro has been working hard to make sure our region’s homeless population has access to the services they need,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “With the resources we have, this was a common-sense arrangement.”
MORE NEW CASES: Oregon Health Authority reported 13 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 88. The virus has also claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from coronavirus to three
PREPARING FOR THE WORST: The state has established three donation sites for medical supplies in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but some Portland-area doctors say it’s not enough. Dr. Vesna Jovanovic, a family medicine doctor at Kaiser Permanente who helped spur the effort after word that supplies of safety gear were getting dangerously low, exposing doctors and nurses to COVID-19 infections, says there need to be donation sites set up at similar locations in every county in Oregon, to get needed equipment to physicians and nurses statewide.
YOU CAN STILL GO OUTSIDE: The weather forecast shows sunshine and blue skies through Sunday, and health officials from five metro-area counties say it’s still OK to go outside and take a walk, bike ride, or hike. (In other words, we’re not under a California-style “shelter in place” mandate—at least not yet.) There are some caveats: You absolutely must maintain a three to six foot buffer from anyone who is not in your household. Don't congregate with large groups of people, and don’t plan on going anywhere except to do essential errands, like picking up food and medicine, health officials said Thursday afternoon. But fresh air and sunshine are crucial to physical and behavioral health, which matter too, says Multnomah County Health Officer Jennifer Vines.
BUT MAYBE DON'T GO CAMPING: Because state officials made the decision to close all state parks, campgrounds, and forest areas to reservations. Reservations from now until April 2 will still be honored, but any reservations booked between April 3-May 8 (for now) will be canceled and refunded. Day-use is still allowed, likely in an effort to keep Oregonians from going completely insane.
DEATH TOLL: Two more confirmed COVID-19 patients have died—a 71-year-old man at Providence St Vincent in Washington County and a 60-year-old woman in PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Lane County—bringing the state's official death toll from the virus to 3.
MAKESHIFT HOSPITALS: The state fairgrounds in Salem will become a temporary 250-bed hospital called the Oregon Medical Station, Governor Brown announced this morning. Oregon will also look to open 1,000 more temporary beds for non-Covid patients elsewhere. According to Willamette Week, the state has "the lowest per-capita bed count in the country, with 1.6 beds per 1000 people."
SENIOR SHOPPERS: New Seasons announced the grocery chain is setting aside its first hour of opening for those most at risk. "Please allow 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday, for Senior Shopping Hour," the New Seasons Facebook page asked customers, adding its senior discount would operate all hours. Albertson's, which also owns Safeway, said its stores will reserve "every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. for those vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated." Whole Foods announced a similar decision, vowing to "service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the store’s web page."
POWELL’S LAYOFFS: Powell’s Books will lay off “the vast majority” of its staff, according to a letter sent by the store’s owner and CEO Emily Powell today. Powell also responded to requests for an extension of employee health insurance, saying that the company had worked to pay wages, health care, and community contributions, and as a result did not have extra money on hand when the stores shut. “When the doors close, every possible cost must stop as well.” According to its website, Powell’s employs more than 530 people over their five Portland stores and their online store.
WORD OF THE DAY: Moratorium. Portland (and Multnomah County) join Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco in instating a moratorium on evictions, which means landlords will not be able to evict tenants who have fallen short on their rent as a result of low income due to coronavirus while the city is in a state of emergency. (Portland's state of emergency is set to expire March 26; Multnomah County, April 10.) OPB reports, "Renters in both jurisdictions will have six months to pay back the payments they’ve fallen behind on once the crisis is over."
NOT MCMENAMINS: McMenamins, the Northwestern chain of pubs, hotels, and movie theaters, in a stunning response to the spread of coronavirus, says it intends to lay off around 3,000 workers and close nearly all its locations. The decision Tuesday comes while restaurants and bars in Oregon and Washington are grappling with their governors' orders to close in hopes of mitigating the coronavirus outbreak. Founding brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin wrote in a statement, "This is drastic, but necessary, to allow our employees to file for unemployment benefits and ensure that there will be jobs to come back to when this extraordinary episode ends. And we are confident it will end."
SCHOOL'S OUT FOR LONGER: Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order extending her two-week closure of Oregon schools to six weeks, until April 28th. The executive order also states that districts are to provide learning support and supplemental services to students and families during the closures, including meals and child care; school districts may call upon public school educators and employees to deliver limited learning and support services; regular employees shall be paid during the closure; and the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Health Authority, and the Department of Human Services are directed to support public schools in the continuity of mental health services.
18 NEW CASES: In the largest uptick in a single day in the state, the Oregon Health Authority reported 18 new coronavirus cases. OHA reported new cases in the following counties: Clackamas (4), Linn (5), Marion (1), Multnomah (1), and Washington (7). The state's total of positive coronavirus cases is now at 65.
NEW RESTRICTIONS: Gov. Kate Brown announced new restrictions on public gatherings in Oregon, banning that events of more than 25 people be canceled, with exemptions for essential locations like workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores. Restaurants and bars will be restricted to carry-out and delivery only, effective for four weeks. Those who do not comply are subject to a Class C misdemeanor. For an up-to-date list of restaurants that are open and utilizing takeout and delivery options, read our coverage here.
MORE NEW CASES: The Oregon Health Authority announced eight new presumptive coronavirus cases in Oregon, bringing the state's total to 47. On Monday, OHA reported two cases each in Benton and Deschutes counties, and one new case each in Clackamas, Jackson, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties. “I know it’s difficult to learn that we are seeing more active community spread of COVID-19, but this is something we’ve been expecting,” said Dean Sidelinger, state health officer with OHA Public Health Division. “It’s a good reminder to take steps to protect yourself, and vulnerable friends and family members, by washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home and away from others if you’re sick.”
COVID-19 COMMAND GROUPS: Governor Brown also announced the formation of two command groups: one to manage our health care system’s resources and the other to manage our state resources. "The metro regional COVID-19 hospital response plan will help the health care community to prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks — a model for a crisis care plan that can be implemented statewide. Working together, hospitals will treat COVID-19 testing resources and personal protective equipment, including gowns, masks, and gloves, as community resources, and work together to increase bed capacity."
MORE NEW CASES: The Oregon Health Authority announced three new COVID-19 cases Sunday morning, bringing the state's total to 39. OHA reported one new case in each Deschutes, Yamhill, and Linn County. The Yamhill County and Deschutes County cases are believed to be community acquired, according to the OHA press release.
LIT IN THE TIME OF COVID: Powell's Books announced it would close its five Portland-area stores through March 31 "for the safety our employees and community." In a letter, owner and CEO Emily Powell cited social distancing guidelines set out by the CDC as the reason for its closures. The bookstore intends to keep its online store active.
Dear Powell’s community: Effective immediately, we have decided to close our five Portland-area stores through 3/31 for the safety of our employees and community. It is our intention to keep the https://t.co/na1155W0NS online store open. Thank you for your continued support. pic.twitter.com/bRYbA4RtWw— Powell's Books (@Powells) March 15, 2020
FIRST OREGON CORONAVIRUS DEATH: Officials at the Portland Veterans' Affairs Medical Center have reported the first coronavirus death in Oregon. The man, a 70-year-old Multnomah County resident who had underlying health issues, had been hospitalized at the center after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 10.
DEAR, MIKE PENCE: Doctors from Oregon have spearheaded an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence regarding the US COVID-19 response. "We have lost our chance to contain this pandemic and are now facing an unmitigated medical disaster," they say in the letter. "This administration’s response has actively undermined our ability to care for patients by perpetuating misinformation and downplaying the looming threat this infection poses to the public." The letter features 24 recommendations to "flatten the curve of this pandemic to save lives." President Trump named Pence head of the Coronavirus Task Force on March 9. Currently, more than 1,300 medical professionals have signed the letter.
TO-GO MEALS: Portland Public Schools announced it would provide free breakfast and lunch for children 1-18—Tuesday, March 17, through Friday, March 20; Monday, March 30, and Tuesday, March 31. This comes shortly after Gov. Kate Brown announced all public schools in Oregon would be closed until April. The t0-go meals will be served at 14 public schools.
TWO VERY BIG WORDS: In a press conference at the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday, President Trump declared a "national emergency." With this action, Trump assumes the powers granted to him laid out in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, and frees up as much as $50 billion to assist American affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
LIGHTS OUT AT THE LIBRARY: All Multnomah County Library branches will be closed until further notice in response to coronavirus, according to its website. Director of libraries Vailey Oehlke said, "The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the real threat to the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors requires swift and dramatic action." During the closure, the library encourages patrons not to turn in their items and said that late fees will not be applied.
We regret to announce that all Multnomah County libraries will close until further notice due to COVID-19. Do not return materials. You will not be charged. https://t.co/FrDIg0p2Wv— Multnomah County Library (@MultCoLib) March 14, 2020
SCHOOL'S OUT, PART 1: Every public K–12 school in Oregon will close starting Monday, March 16, Gov. Kate Brown announced late Thursday night. Schools are not slated to reopen until Wednesday, April 1, but that is subject to change depending upon the spread of the virus within Oregon. (One week of the planned closure, March 23–27, was already the scheduled spring break for most Oregon schools.) The public school system has been among the last educational institutions to close due to the threat of the disease, and officials have expressed concern for the many children who depend upon schools for food and safety, as well as working parents who cannot afford to give up a paycheck to stay home with their kids. But by midday Thursday, with public universities switching to remote instruction and some suburban Portland districts announcing their own closures, the tide started to turn. In Seattle, which has been among the hardest-hit American cities, schools are scheduled to be closed through late April. Under Brown's order, school district officials will be charged with continuing student nutrition services during the closures. No word yet on whether students might wind up making up the lost instructional days this summer. (The Portland Public Schools calendar lists only three days in June as possible “snow make-up days.”)
STATE OF EMERGENCY: In a news conference this morning, Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency. The official declaration is scheduled to last for two weeks and gives additional authority to the city of Portland to address the threat of infection or harm—this includes placing restrictions on public gatherings, establishing curfews, regulating the sale of certain items, and more. Read more about what Wheeler's declaration means here.
This morning I declared a State of Emergency to give us the flexibility and powers we need to support our County and State partners to properly address the threat of infection and harm. #COVID19— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) March 12, 2020
NEW RESTRICTIONS: All large gatherings of 250 people or more are cancelled statewide for the next four weeks, effective immediately, Gov. Kate Brown announced late on Wednesday evening. (What's a "gathering" you ask? Any event in a space in which attendees can't stay at least three feet away from each other at all times.) Public school, however, is still in session, the governor's office says, although they advise cancellation of all non-essential school-associated gatherings and group activities. (No more PTA meetings, field trips, or competitions.) The governor's office also issued new guidance for workplaces, saying offices should limit in-person meetings and travel, and have employees work in shifts whenever possible.
FOUR NEW CASES: The Oregon Health Authority confirmed one new coronavirus case each in Polk, Marion, Umatilla, and Deschutes counties, bringing the state’s total up to 19. OHA reports “none of the new cases involved travel to a country where the virus is actively spreading.”
NIGHT CREW: From The Oregonian, TriMet released a seven-minute video showing workers disinfecting buses with industrial sprayers and cleaning chemicals, highlighting the work maintenance crews have undergone since the tri-county transit service stepped up cleaning efforts amid growing coronavirus concerns.
INTEL FROM ITALY: Willamette Week reported that three University of Oregon faculty currently living in Italy, which recently issued a nationwide shutdown and where more than 800 people have died from the disease, have warned the state to take stronger precautionary actions against the spread of COVID-19. The three faculty members sent out an open letter urging the university to move to online classes, meetings, and conferences. Read the full letter here.
THE WORD OF THE DAY: …Is “pandemic.” The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic, with WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying at a briefing in Geneva, “We are deeply concerned by both the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.” Currently there are 118,000 cases in 114 countries and more than 4,000 deaths.
"Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death"-@DrTedros #COVID19 #coronavirus— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
CORONAVIRUS HITS MULTNOMAH COUNTY: Health officials announced the first presumptive COVID-19 case in Multnomah County. The Oregon Health Authority announced Tuesday that a patient was being treated at the Portland Veteran Affairs Medical Center after the individual tested positive for coronavirus. This is the 15th confirmed coronavirus case in Oregon.
Director of Veteran Affairs Darwin Goodspeed wrote in a statement: "The epidemiologic trace has been done and any impacted employees have been notified and every precaution is being taken to protect those individuals… The safety and health of our Veterans, staff and visitors remains our top priority. We are taking every step possible to ensure the safety of all at VA Portland HCS. I am confident that, together, we will continue offering the safest, highest quality care for our Veterans."
Goodspeed also included a list of what you can do:
- Remember good hand hygiene
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
- No food or drinks outside break rooms
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently
- If you are sick do not come to work
SPORTS IN THE TIME OF COVID: The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC released a joint statement regarding COVID-19, noting that their “main priority” is the “safety and well-being of our fans.” Providence Park will install additional hand sanitizing stations and designated crews to disinfect surfaces throughout matches and between events. They asked that older guests with “serious chronic health conditions refrain from attending events for the time being." The next Providence Park event is a Timbers match vs. Philadelphia on March 28.
DID WE MENTION THAT YOU NEED TO WASH YOUR HANDS?: No? Well, in that case, let's let Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Trail Blazer CJ McCollum lay that wisdom on you.
CANCELLATIONS: ...Are starting to pop up with greater frequency around town. (Also of note: Parking was suspiciously easy to find in downtown Portland today, and the Apple Store at Pioneer Place, which is usually a zoo, was practically empty at mid afternoon.) The Portland Incubator Experiment announced Tuesday that it was moving its annual Demo Day, where start-up founders get to pitch directly to investors, to an online-only event; it had been scheduled for March 19. And Powell's Books has cancelled a handful of upcoming author events, including the much-anticipated conversation between authors Cheryl Strayed and Rebecca Solnit, which had been set for March 18 at Revolution Hall. Still no word on the Shamrock Run though, even though St. Patrick's Day festivities have been cancelled in Dublin.
AND FINALLY: If you've been staring at the empty shelves at Target willing the sad bottles of sunscreen and bug spray to turn into hand sanitizer, consider heading to Shine Distillery, where employees are making home-brew hand-san to give out to customers.
Shine Distillery in N. Portland is now bottling hand sanitizer to give to customers. The owner said they already used the concoction to clean around the place anyway! It’s made from a byproduct of the alcohol they bottle. 80% alcohol, xanthan gum, and a little water. pic.twitter.com/OnGuBIs0WM— Audrey Weil (@audreytweil) March 10, 2020
NO NEW CASES: As per The Oregonian, no new patients were reported in Oregon on Monday, but local schools are bracing for more widespread cases. The state issued new guidelines for schools, saying that widespread school closures would only be considered as a measure of last resort, given that many students rely on schools for basic needs, like food.
AIRLINE TRAVEL CURTAILED: The Portland Business Journal reports that flights out of PDX are being cut back, with fewer flights to Tokyo, Honolulu and other destinations due to the coronavirus-related drop in demand.
DEPARTMENT OF MISINFORMATION: Out in Harney County, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that an official at the local clinic has been spreading misinformation via her own social media pages, suggesting that herbal supplements can curb the spread of coronavirus. (In fact, they absolutely can not.)
WASH YOUR HANDS: But you knew that already. Make it more fun with this neat hand-washing infographic generator set to your favorite tune and developed by a teen from the UK.