PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order Wednesday that expands upon a previous executive order she issued in November. This latest order provides additional funding to address hospital staffing shortages.
Both orders are meant to help healthcare workers as they navigate a surge of patients suffering from various respiratory illnesses.
On Nov. 14, Brown issued an executive order that allowed hospitals to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors to help respond to the surge of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the flu and COVID-19. She had hoped this would allow hospitals more flexibility to ensure there are enough health care workers to meet current needs.
This newest executive order expands on that. The Oregon Health Authority is pursuing supplemental nurse staffing contracts of up to $25 million to help address workforce shortages.
“Our health care workers––our nurses, doctors, and hospital staff––are being pushed to their limits by this year’s combination of flu, RSV, and COVID-19 hospitalizations,” said Governor Brown. “As they do everything they can to keep Oregonians healthy and safe, we must all do our part to help them. Our health care workers are working around the clock to protect the people most vulnerable to severe respiratory illnesses––including our young children and seniors.”
The new executive order replaces the last one the governor issued.
Since the last order was issued in November, pediatric cases for RSV have continued to climb. Influenza hospitalizations have also risen quickly and are expected to increase in the coming weeks.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are also increasing.
Brown and the Oregon Health Authority ask people to stay home if they are sick, stay up to date on flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, and to consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor situations.
People should also cover their coughs and sneezes, disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently, and wash their hands regularly with soap and water.