Oregon Gov. Kate Brown extends state of emergency due to omicron variant

Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday extended Oregon’s declaration of a state of emergency until June 2022, citing the emergence of the omicron variant to the coronavirus.

“As Oregon prepares for what could be our worst surge in hospitalizations during this pandemic, I know that this is not the beginning of the new year any of us had hoped for,” Brown said. “Time and again over the last two years, Oregonians have proven that we will stand with each other in our most difficult times. Your actions have saved lives, and it is because we have worked together to keep each other safe that Oregon still has some of the lowest infection and mortality rates in the nation. Please, do your part again––get vaccinated, get your booster shot, and wear a mask.”

Extending the state of emergency declaration maintains Oregon’s ability to access federal relief funds, such as enhanced SNAP benefits, Brown’s announcement said.

The governor noted she had moved away from managing the COVID-19 pandemic mainly through executive orders and mandates toward more standard regulatory tools as it became clear the pandemic needed long-term management, such as using existing state powers to implement masking and vaccination rules.

The state of emergency declaration does provide her with flexibility around activating medical and other resources, she said. The order remains in effect until June 30 unless rescinded or modified.