Exactly one year after the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Oregon, marking the beginning of a pandemic that would rewrite virtually every aspect of daily life in the state and nation, Governor Kate Brown released a statement saying, among other things, “Thank you.”
“For so many Oregonians, after living through the Covid-19 pandemic, wildfires, flooding, severe winter weather, and a long-overdue reckoning on racism and racial justice, our lives are far different than they were on February 28, one year ago,” she said.
“Through it all, I have been inspired by the way Oregonians have pulled together and helped one another. Because of your smart choices to protect friends and family, Oregon has maintained some of the lowest infection, hospitalization, and death rates in the nation throughout the pandemic.”
In her statement, the governor specifically thanked front-line workers, including those in health care, agriculture, food processing and grocery, first responders, postal workers, transportation workers, restaurant and food-service workers, educators and school staff, and “the many more who have kept us all going.”
One year ago, Oregonians’ lives changed in ways we never could have imagined. Through it all, Oregon’s health care workers have been working tirelessly to keep us safe. Thank your front line workers in the best way we know how: wear your mask to keep you and your community safe.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped friends and neighbors in need — from Oregonians experiencing hunger or homelessness, to those displaced by wildfires, to those who lost jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic,” she said. “Thank you to parents and caregivers, especially working mothers, who have balanced school, work, and family responsibilities in ways we never before imagined.”
Oregon Health Authority officials on Sunday said a total of 155,597 cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in the state since the start of the pandemic. There have been 2,208 deaths attributed to the virus.
“Today and every day, we remember the more than 2,200 Oregonians we have lost,” said Governor Brown. “Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly disease.”
Brown urged Oregonians to continue to follow the public health guidance she said has helped the state remain one of the lowest in the nation in terms of coronavirus cases and deaths per capita: wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large groups and frequent hand-washing.
I’m holding all Oregonians and our state in my prayers today as we mark this grim anniversary.
“But, while we must continue to keep our physical distance from one another,” she concluded, “we will get through the rest of this pandemic the same way we have come this far: together.”
OHA Director Patrick Allen also shared an open letter Sunday where he first recounted the grim numbers the pandemic has left in its wake before turning to more optimistic statistics. Oregon has the fourth-lowest case rate and death rate in the nation, said Allen.
“There’s another number Oregonians should bear in mind, especially as we confront the coming months of the pandemic: 4,000,” he said. “That’s approximately the number of lives you’ve saved by wearing a mask, limiting in-person gatherings and maintaining social distance.”
“You made the difference… Thank you for the lives you’ve saved so far and the lives we can all save in the months to come.”
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