ONTARIO — After hearing from specialists in the medical field on Friday, the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response began to look at a list of recommendations to help Oregon’s citizens to through the next several weeks. This was the second of two meetings of the joint committee formed to deal with the ongoing novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. A third one is set for Monday at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. Mountain Time), which will be streamed live.
State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, is a member.
The top priorities in the first list of 25 suggestion posted by the committee include stability for individuals and families for the next 90 days, health care and short-term employer and employee support.
Housing issues being addressed include housing, food, utilities, health insurance, family leave, high-risk households, child care and workforce requirements.
One of the main concerns expressed by members of the committee and other meeting participants, is that people are not taking the plea to stay at home and keeping proper space between individuals seriously. Examples cited were young people out playing “beer pong” and children out on playgrounds playing together on equipment.
Dr. Danny Jacobs, president of Oregon Health & Science University, said, “Staying home, limiting the movement of people, limiting travel is essential [to help stop the spread of virus].
“We are all in this together, we need to act like we are in this together,” Dr. Renee Edwards, chief medical officer, OHSU Health, said.
While increased hospitalization is expected, the purpose of keeping space between people is keeping a lot of people from needing hospitalization at the same time,” Edwards said.
Without having to deal with the coronavirus, OHSU’s intensive care unit runs at about 95% of capacity.
There is a need for more personal protective equipment, and more extreme measures to keep people the proper distance apart may be needed, he said.
Dr. Peter Graven, OHSU economist, said the number of people who may get sick is not known and how many people will become hospitalized is now known.
The number of people who test positive for the virus may double about every six days.
In opening the first session on Wednesday, co-chair Paul Holvey said the purpose of the committee is on finding that the needs of the community and where the Legislature can help plug in the gaps and enhance response to the virus, particularly vulnerable low income populations and small business.
More than 180,000 jobs come from the lodge and restaurant industry, prior to the coronavirus, said Jason Brandt, with the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“Thousands of jobs have been lost.”
Some hotels are experiencing single-digit occupancy, Brandt, said.
“Not only are we going to have a run on our health system, we’re going to have a run on the employment department.”