Health, government officials respond to growing COVID-19 outbreak

Oregon Health Authority announced Tuesday that health officials in Multnomah County confirmed the county’s first case of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. A press release from OHA said the state’s total COVID-19 cases now total 15 cases spread across seven counties.  Oregon Public Broadcasting announced last week that there were two presumptive cases in the state, and 115 people as of March 3 were still being monitored for symptoms. Approximately 18 patients were waiting on test results as of March 3, as well. 


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“I can only imagine the concern from family and friends of this person,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, lead health officer of the Tri-County region, in the press release. “And let us all do what we can to minimize the number of other people who must go through this.”

The announcement came a day after the Joint Legislative Emergency Board (JLEB) approved a $5 million expenditure to be used for coronavirus response efforts, part of a $24 million allocation to address priority projects state-wide.

While the OHA and Multnomah County work together to find those who have been in contact with the Multnomah County resident who contracted COVID-19, officials who work for OHA are expecting the $5 million JLEB allocation to increase the amount of federal money available to the state to curb the spread of COVID-19. According to The Lund Report, Oregon should also expect about $20 million of the $8.3 billion package Congress passed to help fight the threat of coronavirus across the country. In a March 3 letter from Gov. Kate Brown to Vice President Mike Pence, the governor anticipated the state would need millions of dollars more per month from the federal government to help fight the spread of the virus. 

“Significant resources and funding will be needed in the days and months ahead to respond to and contain this outbreak,” wrote Brown in her letter. “As the situation evolves, so do our needs. We currently estimate our financial need at between $7 million and $10 million per month to support the additional resource needs for state and local public health, in addition to reimbursing the costs already incurred.”