SALEM – Gov. Kate Brown announced today the she won’t issue a statewide “shelter in place” order now to slow the spread of COVID-19, though she said it may be required soon.

But the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems released a statement calling for stricter social distancing measures. The organization represents Oregon’s 62 acute care hospitals.

Brown previously ordered school closed until April 28, ordered restaurants and bars to close except for delivery and take out, and banned gathering of 25 or more people. She strongly urged people not to meet in groups of more than 10.

Becky Hultberg, the president and CEO of the OAHHS, said those measures are not enough.

"The coronavirus is dangerous because although we can't see it, the virus is in our community and it is lethal,” Hultberg said in the statement. “Hospitals and health systems are preparing for a surge in COVID-19 patients and it is critical that we have the capacity to care for those patients and others who present at our facilities. Mortality is higher when the health system gets overwhelmed. We must act now to save lives.”

She said without widespread testing available and the ability to isolate those who have the virus, social distancing is the best option to slow the spread.

“Yesterday, our board recommended that the Governor take the strongest possible action when it comes to social distancing measures now,” Hultberg said. “We support action on the state or local level to further limit retail commerce, unnecessary travel, and adopt ‘shelter in place‘ strategies.”

Oregon Health Authority reported 88 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths from the disease statewide as of 8:30 a.m. Polk County’s tally of cases still sits at one. OHA now reports new cases once a day.

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