Today, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and California Governor Gavin Newsom, announced an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future.
There is no target date for opening the economy, but the governors, in a joint statement below, said that health concerns and science will guide the relaxation of distancing requirements as well as a decrease in the incidence and growth of cases. They anticipate the opening to be slow. "We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this," their press release stated. Each state will develop and follow its own plan, but will coordinate with the other two so that there is uniformity and safe transitions from one state to the next.
The governor's press secretary Charles Boyle said, "Governor Brown is working together with Governors Newsom and Inslee to develop a framework for reopening our West Coast communities and economies. Our states must work together because the impacts of this public health crisis do not stop at the state border. While each state will have its own specific plan, our office is coordinating with the Governor’s offices in Washington and California to develop common criteria for this framework and a way for our health departments to coordinate on an ongoing basis. In Oregon, the Governor’s Medical Advisory Panel will be involved in reviewing the public health components of decisions related to the lifting of various social distancing orders. More details will be available tomorrow in a press conference to be announced shortly."
"Reopening Oregon is not a process that will happen overnight or statewide all at once. Each decision will be carefully weighed and made in consultation with local leaders to make sure policies are implemented correctly, with safeguards in place to protect the public health. Health outcomes will be the ultimate metric guiding decisions to reopen communities—we will only reopen Oregon if the data shows we can do so without jeopardizing public health."
Joint statement from the Governors:
COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.
We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.
While each state is building a state-specific plan, our states have agreed to the following principles as we build out a West Coast framework:
Our residents’ health comes first. As home to one in six Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.
Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities—particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.
Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with its local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.
Through quick and decisive action, each of our states has made significant progress in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19 among the broader public. Now, our public health leaders will focus on four goals that will be critical for controlling the virus in the future.
• Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
• Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
• Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
• Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.
COVID-19 doesn’t follow state or national boundaries. It will take every level of government, working together, and a full picture of what’s happening on the ground.
In the coming days the governors, their staff and health officials will continue conversations about this regional path to recovery.