Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update: March 17th, 2020

You can read our previous newsletters here.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I wanted to reach out again today to share information about the impacts of COVID-19, new developments, and updated resources specific to Washington County. Please forward this email to anyone who wants updates, and encourage them to sign up for my newsletter.

What’s at Stake?

As a community, we will all be paying economic and emotional costs as we respond to the spread of the coronavirus. Because many of us have not been affected yet by its spread and the COVID-19 disease it causes, it can be difficult to understand the scope and severity of the crisis before us, and why such strict decisions are being made in public and private arenas. 

What makes this crisis different from others? Coronavirus is easily transmitted throughout a community, has a high hospitalization rate, with no vaccine or disease specific medication. The high rate of hospitalization  puts an extreme strain on the limited capacity of hospitals, equipment, and providers. Evidence from other countries and here in the US demonstrates that the virus can spread easily on surfaces and from people who have not displayed any symptoms. While many people infected with the virus will have mild symptoms, they can easily spread the virus to someone who won’t.  Because certain populations will be hit so much harder than others, about 20% of all COVID-19 patients will require hospitalization and intensive care.  

The truth is, if cases rise to levels similar to China and Italy, we will not have the capacity to provide the life saving care people will need.  That is why it is vital that we all make a commitment to spreading out the impact of this disease and slowing its spread. This will be difficult for all Oregon families, communities, and businesses.  

However, I know that if we work together, practice strict social distancing, and take care of ourselves, we can face this crisis and protect our community members and loved ones.  

New Developments

  • All schools are now closed until April 28th. School districts are to provide learning supports and supplemental services to students and families during the closure period, including meals and child care. This includes the delivery of food assistance and offering child care for essential health care professionals and first responders.
  • Visitation to all long term care facilities has been shut down for family members and visitors providing emotional support. This does not include critical care providers or family members visiting a loved one at the end of their life. The shutdown includes nursing facilities, residential facilities, adult foster homes, and IDD facilities. This decision was not made lightly, but will slow the spread of disease, and keep more Oregonians healthy.
  • As announced yesterday, Governor Brown signed executive orders today, prohibiting dine-in food service, prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 25 people, and declaring an abnormal market disruption due to COVID-19 (this should help prevent price gouging and other disruptions).  View more updates from the Governor here
  • Hillsboro: Effective tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18th), the City of Hillsboro will be closing city facilities to the public and reducing the employment base to a skeleton crew to protect essential services. Hillsboro libraries are closed, but you can check out their online catalog here
  • Cornelius: The Cornelius City Council will meet tonight to discuss declaring an emergency so they can respond to the crisis and get resources as needed. The Cornelius Library is closed until March 31st.  
  • Forest Grove: The Forest Grove City Council will also be meeting tonight and considering a declaration of emergency. City staff are being cut down to skeleton crew to preserve essential services, while reducing exposure and transmission risks.  Other considerations before the council are where and how they are delivering food, and the safety of road crossings for those accessing food and services, particularly children. The Forest Grove City Library is closed.
  • You can find updated city information at the Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and Cornelius city websites.

Best Practices:

As we continue with social distancing, it is important that we take care of our well-being and overall health.  

  • Make sure to eat well, and stay hydrated! When stuck at home, it can be tempting to eat junk food and sit on the couch, but it is important that we do our best to stay active and maintain good eating habits! Challenge yourself to go for a walk or do yoga once a day, and eat regular meals rather than snacking.  Post photos and share your progress with others!
  • Although we can’t physically be with each other, maintain your social and emotional health by reaching out to your friends and family virtually, checking in with video calling and group chats. You can also get engaged with online communities of people with shared interests.  Example: my staff have been staying sane while working from home, by connecting with fellow plant enthusiasts on Instagram. Find your community! 
  • We are going through an uncertain and scary upheaval of our daily lives. Creating a routine while at home can help you and your family have a sense of normalcy. 
  • Stay up to date as this crisis goes forward, but make sure you take a break! It can be easy to get stuck reading the news and social media all day. Limit your news to a few times a day, and find something fun - and offline- to do. 

Updates and Resources in Washington County:

  • You can find continuously updated information on the virus on the CDC and Washington County COVID-19 websites, or by calling “211”
  • Community Action has information about emergency needs like food and housing here.
  • For older adults who are particularly vulnerable to this coronavirus, Washington County’s Aging & Disability Resource Connection will have info here. Resources will vary by location, so plug in the zip code and “food” or “nutrition”. Things are evolving rapidly and many changes are only temporary, so some changes may not be reflected. 
  • People experiencing homelessness are encouraged to contact Washington County’s coordinated entry system – Community Connect – to access available housing and services. More information on Community Connect is available online or by phone, 503-640-3263.
  • In Oregon, SNAP benefits can be used for online purchase at Amazon and Walmart. See more information here. Other food assistance resources can be found below: 

March 17, COVID Update


Please contact my office at with any questions or concerns. If you or your business is experiencing quantifiable financial hardship, please email me so we can pass that information on.

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301