Oregon's COVID emergency declaration to be lifted in April
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday she will rescind her statewide COVID-19 emergency declaration on April 1.
In addition, Oregon’s mask requirement for indoor public places and schools will be lifted on March 19, officials said. Both announcements come as COVID-19 hospitalizations and case numbers continue to decrease in the state.
“Lifting Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency declaration today does not mean that the pandemic is over, or that COVID-19 is no longer a significant concern,” Brown said.
The emergency declaration, which was first announced in March 2020, has been the legal underpinning for the executive orders the governor has issued throughout the pandemic — including orders surrounding reopening the state, vaccine mandates, childcare, liability protections for schools and higher education operations.
While many of Brown’s coronavirus-related executive orders were lifted in June 2021, the declaration has also been used to provide help to overwhelmed healthcare systems, by activating the Oregon National Guard and providing volunteer medical providers in hospitals and at vaccination clinics, during the omicron surge.
Oregon officials also announced that indoor mask requirements will be lifted on March 19, nearly two weeks ahead of the state-set March 31 deadline.
Officials say that the reasoning behind lifting the mask requirement earlier is due to decreasing hospitalizations. Health officials predict that by March 20, there will be 400 or fewer people per day hospitalized with the virus in Oregon -- a level the state experienced prior to the arrival of the omicron variant.
Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined 48% since peaking in late January. Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations have fallen by an average of more than 30 a day. Yesterday, there were 579 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state.
Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.