Oregon Governor Blames Feds For Shortage Of PPE 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown used her daily media briefing Wednesday to call out federal authorities for the ongoing shortage of protective equipment for healthcare workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

“The question is, what’s the barrier? From our perspective, from what we’re seeing, it’s frankly the federal government,” Brown said.

Federal authorities have been too slow to authorize production of personal protective equipment by other than medical manufacturers, Brown said, and to insulate such producers from potential liability claims. She suggested President Donald Trump should use his emergency authority to repurpose private factories to make the protective gear, a step he has been reluctant to take.

“Voluntary production will not fix this problem at this time,” Brown said.

The governor said every state is facing the same shortage and they’re all competing against one another – and the federal government – for equipment to protect their healthcare workers.

“This outrageous lack of action will result in lost lives,” Brown said.

Other highlights from Wednesday’s call:

· The governor said she has instructed the Oregon Health Authority to release more data about the people who test positive for the coronavirus. Newly available data will include age ranges, hospitalization status, available hospital beds and available ventilators to treat patients with lung disease to help health officials and the public to better understand risks and trends.

· The governor said she expects at least $1.2 billion in assistance for Oregonians and the state from the federal rescue bill poised for passage in Congress.

· Oregon will delay the state tax filing deadline for personal income taxes from April 15 to July 15, matching earlier federal action.

· The governor said she expects an additional 1,000 coronavirus tests per day soon, which could give a much clearer picture of the state of outbreak in Oregon.

· Amid continued complaints about unsafe working conditions during the outbreak, Brown said Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries will begin fielding employee complaints. On Tuesday, the governor’s office directed complaints to a different agency: Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health division. If employers are inherently unable to maintain a six-foot distance between employees in the workplace, Brown said, “Then those businesses should shut down.”

-- Mike Rogoway | [email protected] | twitter: @rogoway | 503-294-7699

This article was originally published by The Oregonian/OregonLive, one of two dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving health issue.

 

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