Emergency Declaration Extended to April 16

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Sponsored by: Board of County Commissioners Department

Emergency declaration extended to continue supporting public health response

Board of Commissioners Extends COVID-19 Emergency Declaration March 31, 2020

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted March 31 to extend until April 16 the county’s prior declaration of emergency regarding the response to the new coronavirus. The new emergency declaration allows the county administrator to authorize contracts with expenditures up to $500,000 for services or supplies needed to assist in the response. 

The board adopted the renewed declaration at their first regular business meeting broadcast real-time on the Washington County’s YouTube channel. Department of Health and Human Services Director Marni Kuyl provided the Board of Commissioners with an overview of the county’s response efforts as part of her staff briefing. 

The new declaration continues prior authorizations, support for coordination and other actions first put in motion by the board on March 4, just after the county’s first case of COVID-19 was discovered. The emergency declaration was later extended for two additional weeks by board action on March 14. 

The county’s emergency operations center (EOC) also activated soon after the first case of new coronavirus was reported on February 28. The coordinated center serves to support public health operations and to coordinate 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:

  • Continued coordination around community-wide compliance with Governor Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order;
  • Support for public health tracking, monitoring and support of households where positive cases have been reported;
  • Resources to assist health care providers for patient care; 
  • Incorporate equity considerations throughout the county's response activities;
  • Help for vulnerable populations affected by the public health crisis, including a new respite site for people who may have symptoms of the virus and are also experiencing homelessness; and
  • The development of a countywide initiative to address the economic impact of the pandemic, particularly on small businesses. 

The public is reminded to follow Governor Kate Brown’s statewide “Stay Home, Save Lives” order and take simple steps everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands well and often; 
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue; 
  • Stay home unless traveling to get food, medicine or other necessary items, or if your job is considered critical and must be done in-person;
  • Cancel any gatherings, conferences or non-essential meetings; 
  • Avoiding social and other gatherings; and
  • Increase the physical space between each other in workplaces and other settings as appropriate.

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.

Media Contacts:

Philip Bransford, County Administrative Office Communications Officer, 503-846-8685

Wendy Gordon, Health and Human Services Department Communications Coordinator/PIO