Emergency Declaration Extended to June 2
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 06, 2020
Emergency ordinance revised and declaration extended to continue supporting public health response
The Washington County Board of Commissioners took two actions on May 5 to adjust the county’s emergency response to the new coronavirus and read an equity statement regarding the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had within the community.
First, the board amended a portion of the county code pertaining to emergencies by extending the maximum 14-day period that a declared emergency might be in effect to a maximum of 30 days. Acting under the provisions of the County Charter governing adoption of ordinances during an emergency, this change to the county code took place immediately upon unanimous adoption by the board.
Second, the board extended by 28 days, until June 2, the county’s prior declaration of emergency regarding the response to the new coronavirus. The new emergency declaration continues the authorizations, support for coordination and other actions from the prior declaration adopted on April 21. In addition, the new emergency declaration enables the Department of Land Use and Transportation to expedite permitting for emergency repairs to existing, critical infrastructure within county right-of-way.
The board also took turns reading from an equity statement about the “disproportionate impact of the crisis on our community members of color and groups impacted by inequities.” The statement goes on to pledge that “Washington County holds equity at the center of our response to COVID-19 and will continue to lead with race as we support our entire community through this crisis.” A full reading of the statement by the board is the subject of a video begin produced by Tualatin Valley Community Television.
In addition, Health and Human Services Department Director Marni Kuyl gave an overview of the framework the county might pursue in compliance with whatever actions Governor Kate Brown takes in the coming weeks to relax parts of her March 23rd “Stay Home, Save Lives” order.
“As a reminder it is really important to understanding that Governor Brown is the one who has the authority to lift her executive orders. So this plan is so we are prepared as a county for reopening once the governor lifts those orders,” said Kuyl, whose briefing could be viewed on the county’s YouTube channel.
The board first declared an emergency on March 4, just after the county’s first case of COVID-19 was discovered.
The county’s emergency operations center (EOC) also activated soon after the first case of new coronavirus was reported on February 28. The coordinating center serves to support public health operations and to help organize the multi-agency response to the outbreak. Over 100 staff and representatives from several community partners have been working in the EOC since that time, using appropriate social distancing. County staff continues to collaborate with community partners and other jurisdictions to collectively slow the spread of this new disease.
Objectives for the Washington County EOC include:
- Equity: Ensure all EOC sections incorporate equity considerations into their actions and prioritize support to vulnerable populations and marginalized communities.
- Reopening: Develop and finalize the first edition of the Washington County Reopening Plan by May 12 consistent with the governor’s framework.
- Positive Cases: Track, respond to, and support positive cases with a focus on high-risk contacts and organizations/facilities caring for high-risk contacts.
- Expanded Disease Investigation and Mitigation: Prepare to implement updated OHA investigative guidelines by building an expanded workforce to manage comprehensive case investigation, contact tracing, active monitoring, and isolation and quarantine.
- Isolation and Quarantine Support: Plan and prepare for provision of basic needs for people who require assistance while isolated or quarantined as a result of COVID-19.
- Governor’s Order: Continue to coordinate the thorough implementation of physical distancing measures and enforce the governor’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” executive order; prevent and mitigate complacency while planning for Phase 1 Reopening.
- Disparate Impacts: Develop and implement strategies to slow disease spread in settings and communities that are disproportionately impacted (communities of color, long-term care and other congregate housing facilities, migrant farmworkers).
- Resources: Provide resources, including medical PPE and other support, to eligible recipients.
- Community Essential Needs: Assess and monitor the impacts to essential needs with a focus on vulnerable populations and marginalized communities. Coordinate with community-based organizations to develop and implement strategies to address identified gaps and connect people in need with resources.
- Behavioral Health: Assess and monitor the behavioral health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and develop strategies to address gaps and improve overall mental health and well-being.
- Recovery: Support and coordinate countywide and regional recovery efforts by recovering County costs through disaster assistance programs and by sharing economic assistance resources with businesses.
The public is reminded to follow Governor Kate Brown’s statewide “Stay Home, Save Lives” order and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These simple steps can save lives by to slowing the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with warm running water and soap for 20-seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand wash product.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes using your sleeve or a tissue, not your bare hand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home and away from the rest of your household if you’re feeling sick. Additional home guidance is here.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched surfaces at home and at work, including your mobile devices.
- Follow the Stay Home, Save Lives order.
- Pregnant women should visit the CDC's website for the most current guidance.
- Breastfeeding women should visit Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine for the most current guidance.
Health officials also ask that the public stay informed and educated through trustworthy sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority and Washington County Public Health Division.
General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider.
Philip Bransford, County Administrative Office Communications Officer,
Mary Sawyers, Public Information Officer, Washington County Public Health