Additional updates on COVID-19

Rep Julie Fahey Email Header

The situation with COVID-19 continues to shift on a daily basis – we are working hard to keep constituents and the general public updated. I’ve included new information from the past few days in this email below, and you can also check my social media for more real-time updates. In addition, the Governor has created a comprehensive website, with information regarding public health, schools, employers, employees and other topics. You can also check the Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 website and sign up for their email updates. If you have non-urgent questions, you can call 211 or Lane County's COVID-19 call center at 541-682-1380, Monday through Friday, 9am-4pm.

One thing is clear – in order to protect the health and safety of Oregon families, we must work together and support each other.

New Guidance on Social Distancing

Governor Brown has announced new, additional limitations to help prevent and slow down the spread within our communities. The biggest changes are as follows:

  • Schools will be closed through April 28 with meals for students and child care for essential professionals to continue.
  • The official limit on size of allowable gatherings has been reduced from 250 to 25. However, it is recommended to limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people. This does not apply to workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores.
  • Restaurants and bars are now restricted to delivery, carry out and curbside pickup only; no dine-in service is allowed for the next four weeks effective today.
  • All visits to nursing homes and residential care facilities have been restricted, except for residents in the end of life stage.

The new social distancing measures Governor Brown announced are critically important as it will slow the spread of COVID-19. Slowing the transmission of the virus preserves hospital capacity by preventing a significant spike in cases.

None of the recommendations in my last newsletter about protecting yourself and what to do if you feel unwell have changed. At this point, it is extremely important for everyone to practice social distancing – stay home as much as possible, and if you do go out, keep six feet of distance between people, wash your hands before/after, and avoid handshakes and hugs. Young and healthy people need to do this as well – it’s becoming clearer that you can be contagious even with very mild or even no symptoms. Staying home and following the guidelines on social distancing is going to help save the lives of others.

Action Behind the Scenes

Both the Governor and legislative leadership have called for a special legislative session to help implement a comprehensive response, particularly to the economic impact the pandemic is having. The Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response was created last week with the charge of identifying budget and policy recommendations to provide short-term economic relief for workers and businesses, address potential housing instability, and monitor the strategies and responses in place. This Committee will be meeting for the first time tomorrow to discuss what actions the legislature should take. I anticipate that we will soon be called to Salem – with significant safety measures in place – to take action on recommendations made by the committee.

Additionally, the Governor has pulled together a Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council that will be looking at the options on the table for supporting businesses and workers both who are facing economic uncertainty. We are already looking at changes to unemployment insurance to ensure access to these benefits, and there may also be further support coming from the federal government that this group will be examining and providing recommendations on.

On the health care front, many of the large health care providers in the Portland area (who also work in our part of the state) announced that they are coming together to implement a coordinated approach in making changes to the way they are delivering care for other types of conditions. This will increase the availability of hospital beds and providers available to help address the cases of coronavirus who need that level of care. In addition, the Governor has activated the state’s Unified Command emergency response organizational structure, an incident management structure similar to what Oregon would activate during a major Cascadia earthquake. This will fully integrate the Oregon Health Authority’s public health response with the Office of Emergency Management’s efforts to minimize any disruption to critical services in Oregon.

Resources in the Community

There are many organizations working hard right now to ensure there are services available for those who need them, and in ways that can comply with the current guidelines from the Governor. Please feel free to share any others with me and I will continue to post on social media and share by email.


  • Bethel School District will provide grab and go breakfast and lunches for any students to pick up through the 20th, 10 am-noon at Willamette High School, Prairie Mountain School, Malabon Elementary and Fairfield Elementary; additionally meals can be picked up from 10:30-11:15 am at Trainsong Park, Woodland Park Estates, and Alvadore Christian Church and from 11:30 am-noon at Lark City Park, Albertson's on Royal Ave, and Orchard Point Mobile Park. 
  • 4j is providing free meals to youth 18 and under through the 20th for pick up from 11 am-noon at Arts & Technology Academy (by the gym), Awbrey Park Elementary, ECCO (200 N. Monroe St., lobby), Holt Elementary (back cafeteria doors), Howard Elementary School (lobby), South Eugene High School (back cafeteria doors)
  • Junction City SD will have breakfast and lunch for pick up through the 20th from 9:15-10:30 am at Junction City High School. Meals can be picked up at the doors going into the cafeteria by the little pump house (next to gravel lot).
  • Food for Lane County has centralized food resources available for different groups in the community.


  • Most utilities (including EWEB and Junction City Public Works) have announced they are suspending shut offs and late fees, and may have other support available if you’re having trouble paying your bills
  • Both Xfinity and CenturyLink are suspending shut offs, waiving late fees, and providing unlimited data for the time being


  • Lane County specific resources are available here – delivery services, educational resources, and others
  • Bethel School District has a list of community resources and also resources for talking to children about COVID-19

Mental health

  • Many providers are now able to bill for remote visits for mental health services, check with your provider about whether this is an option for you
  • The White Bird Crisis Line is accessible 24/7 by phone at 541-687-4000
  • HOOTS (Helping Out Our Teens in Schools) is offering mental health support by phone for high school students, families and staff during closures, available weekdays 9 am-4 pm at 541-246-2342

Business and workers

  • Affected workers can visit Oregon's Employment Department page on COVID-19 to learn more about the expanded availability of unemployment benefits; this article from the Oregonian also walks through what to do if you’ve lost your job due to the current situation
  • Employers who are cutting shifts/hours can sign up for the Oregon Work Share Program, which can help supplement wages for workers whose hours are reduced
  • Business Oregon has a number of tips and resources available for small business owners on their coronavirus response page
  • Lane County also has a website to help employers handle the current situation
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Remote Communications

Holding meetings for your work, community organizations, and even between friends and family is a great way to stay connected but practice social distancing. There are several companies that are making their technology more readily available to facilitate teams continuing to connect even while working offsite.

  • Microsoft Teams has an extended free trial with additional features
  • Google Hangouts can facilitate video calls, record meetings and livestream meetings
  • LogMeIn has Emergency Remote Work kits available free for three months for nonprofits, schools, and health care organizations and they’re ready to work with small businesses as well
  • Zoom has free videoconferencing software and is hosting information sessions to help small businesses take advantage of it

Update on Constituent Events

All in-person constituent events (including the constituent coffee mentioned in my last email) are cancelled until further notice. I am working to schedule a virtual town hall and will let you know as soon as that is confirmed. 

While it may seem like we’re in the middle of this, the public health experts are clear that this is just the beginning, which is why these new measures are so important. The next several weeks are going to be challenging for our community and we all need to do our part to successfully slow the spread of coronavirus and get us through this. Be kind to each other, check in on your neighbors (especially those in high risk groups), and practice social distancing!


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Capitol Phone: 503-986-1414
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-474, Salem, Oregon 97301