Coronavirus Update: Stay Home, Stay Healthy

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Coronavirus Update: Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Stay home. Stay healthy.  What does that mean?

It means we care for each other.

For example, if a group of friends goes through their usual routine of playing basketball, they are putting others at risk. Why? Because one of them might feel healthy but still have the coronavirus. He or she passes the virus on to others, who go home with the virus and pass it on to their grandmothers. They are in a high-risk category and coronavirus puts their lives in danger.

So stay home and stay healthy! Keep 3-6 feet between you and your friends. It's that simple – and it will save lives.

On to today’s coronavirus updates:

The legislature’s Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response held its second meeting this afternoon, continuing its work to understand response efforts and prepare an initial emergency relief package as quickly as possible. Everyone anticipates a busy weekend ahead and more progress next week.

The committee reviewed an initial draft of an emergency package, which you can view here. It includes 25 different ideas, based on three themes:

  1. Stability for Individuals and Families (90-day plan)
  2. Health Care System Needs
  3. Short-Term Employer Support

The committee returns to work at 9 am on Monday to continue to refine the emergency package. We all have a sense of urgency. My goal is to make sure the committee completes its first set of actions by the end of the month so the Legislature can provide some relief for Oregonians over the next 90 days.

Why social distancing is critical

Additionally, the committee heard updates from OHSU representatives on the public health aspect of this crisis. I know many of you have taken the necessary precautions to stay at home as much as possible and practice proper social distancing guidelines. But it was clear from OHSU’s testimony that our hospitals are bracing for an overload of patients in the coming weeks if we don’t do more to prevent the spread of the virus.

OHSU representatives noted that hospitalizations from coronavirus often last two weeks, compared to less than a week for hospital stays not related to coronavirus. As more and more diagnosed cases occur, it will have the potential to overwhelm our hospital system. This would have devastating consequences. This graph shows why it is so essential we stop the surge of cases.

Flatten the Curve

Even if you’re doing all you can to stop the spread and “flatten the curve” of the outbreak, please do all you can to let family members and friends know they need to do the same. Social distancing is not convenient for any of us -- but it will save lives and prevent the worst-case scenario for our health care workers who are already working around the clock.

Here are the latest other updates for Oregon:

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Oregon for low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profits, homeowners and renters. All who are interested in applying can do so here.
  • The Oregon Health Authority announced today there are now 114 diagnosed cases of coronavirus in the state, 26 more than yesterday. This is the highest increase of diagnosed cases in a single day since the virus first appeared in Oregon. OHA has county-by-county and age demographic breakdowns of diagnosed cases here.

In my newsletter yesterday, I wrote about the work the legislative committee on coronavirus is doing on housing, particularly on eviction moratoriums and rental assistance. I was glad to see Governor Kate Brown wants to halt evictions and terminations of Medicaid coverage. I’m hopeful more information will be available about this soon. The Legislature is still committed to taking action to ensure Oregonians won’t lose their housing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a reminder, the City of Portland and Multnomah County this week announced a moratorium on residential evictions for those who have lost wages due to the pandemic. More information is available here. For more information on existing resources, please go to

Another side effect of this crisis is that the American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. Healthy individuals are still urged to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood. To donate, you can make an appointment at this link:

Finally, here are some helpful links for students and families, unemployment insurance, and food assistance:

For up to date information, please check this link to the Oregon Health Authority where regular updates are posted:

Please email me at if you have specific concerns that have not been addressed by the OHA. Our office will do all we can to help and protect all Oregonians.

We will get through this together.



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301