Coronavirus Update, March 19, 2020

You can read our previous newsletters here.

Dear Friends,

This crisis continues to unfold rapidly. As of today, the Oregon Health Authority has reported that 25 of Oregon’s 88 confirmed cases of coronavirus are Washington County alone. As testing becomes more available in the coming days, that number will rise quickly. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of our community members struggling the hardest in this tragedy. Please remember that social distancing will help us slow the spread of this disease, and preserve critically needed health resources for those who need it most.

Since my last update, there have been a few major developments from Governor Brown, state agencies, and the Legislature.

New Developments

  • Governor Brown announced an executive order yesterday (March 18), with the goal of preserving the necessary personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and gowns, for the upcoming surge in coronavirus cases. All Oregon hospitals, out-patient clinics, veterinarians, and dentists are to cease non-emergency procedures.
  • Additionally, Governor Brown announced an executive order directing Oregon’s higher education institutions to transition immediately to online learning. Dining services, dorms, and other critical operations are remaining open, but directed to maintain strict social distancing. 
  • Beginning Friday, March 19, at the Salem Fairgrounds, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Military Department, is assembling an Oregon Medical Station (OMS), dedicated for emergency use in situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. The OMS will provide an alternate site for 250 patients currently in nursing home care
  • DMV: DMV offices across the state have limited their capacity to 10 customers at a time.  Some offices are asking that customers wait in their cars rather than lining up inside or outside of the office.  All drivers tests are cancelled from now until April 17th. You can reschedule a cancelled test by calling DMV Customer Assistance at 503-945-5000, after May 4th.  Transactions that can be done by mail or online will not be available at DMV office locations. Use this site to complete transactions online such as: 
    • Vehicle Registration Renewal
    • Change of Address
    • Report of Vehicle Sold
    • Purchase a Trip Permit
  • You will still need to visit an DMV office in person to renew a driver's license, or access REAL ID and wait times are likely to be longer than usual due to the capacity limits.  The Governor is exploring options for how to address this, but unfortunately Oregon does not have technology to move license renewals to online.  

Best Practices

  • When grocery shopping, be mindful of WIC labels on goods. Low-income Oregonians, including many pregnant women and families with small children can receive vouchers for WIC labeled foods, a program designed to supplement their diet and support good infant nutrition. If a needed WIC item is not in the store, these families go home empty-handed. Grocery stores do not expect prolonged shortages of goods, but restocking times can be delayed.
  • Take a walk outside! If you’re not used to working from home, it might be easy to forget to stay active. It’s important for your overall mental and physical health to get some fresh air and get moving.
  • Make use of state and local parks, but exercise caution! Wipe down any play equipment before use, or avoid the equipment entirely.  Coronavirus can live on plastic and metal surfaces for several days. 
  • Quit smoking or vaping. Early evidence shows that smoking and vaping could greatly increase your risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms. Quitting is hard, and times are stressful. If you want help, here are some free resources: call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go to

Childcare for First Responders

While many of us are working from home, or staying home with children during the school closures, many Oregonians on the front lines of this crisis are still in need of child care. The Oregon Department of Human Services and the Early Learning Division have made temporary changes to childcare benefits to help families at the front line of this crisis. Below are the changes to their benefits.

  • Eliminating co-pays for eligible families.
  • Increasing the income limit from 185 percent of the federal poverty level ($4,040 per month for a family of four) to 250 percent of the federal poverty level or 85 percent of the state median income, whichever is higher for the family size ($5,899 per month for a family of four).
  • Child care providers are able to continue to receive payments from DHS, even if children are unable to attend or if they have to temporarily shut down during the state of emergency.

Get more information at the Early Learning Division’s COVID-19 website here.

Social Distancing Job Loss

The social distancing measures taken by the state and federal government have caused thousands of Oregonians to suddenly lose their jobs this week, without a clear idea of when these measures will end. While these measures are necessary, the economic impact will be felt hard by thousands of Oregon workers who need to pay their rent and bills. 

The Governor’s office, the Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council, and my colleagues in the legislature are diligently working in tandem with the Federal Government’s aid, to find solutions and economic relief for all Oregonians. 

Here are a few utilities who will not turn off service because of nonpayment during this time:

if your utility is not listed above, reach out to them and see if they are offering any assistance. you may need to document COVID-19 related hardship, so be prepared and have any pink slips or written documentation at hand. 

Joint Interim Committee on Coronavirus Response

The Joint Interim Committee on Coronavirus Response held their first hearing yesterday. Many members and everyone who testified joined remotely, and the members in the room cleaned and separated their work spaces. While the Governor has been working diligently and thoughtfully, and taking the critical, difficult steps to address this crisis through Executive and Emergency Action, we will soon need statutory changes in order to fully respond to this crisis. The Committee heard updates and questioned representatives from the Governor’s office, the Director of the Oregon Health Authority, and representatives from labor and business groups. You can watch the full meeting online here. There will be another meeting held tomorrow, March 20th, at 1pm, and you can find more details here

More Resources

  • If you see or experience price gouging or predatory behavior, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has established a free hotline to report it: 877-877-9392
  • The Governor’s office has compiled a comprehensive resource site where you can read all her press releases, Executive Orders, updates, and be directed to other resources you may need. Click on the button below.
COVID-19 Resource Site Button

Before Social Distancing

My daughters and me before Social Distancing

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