The fight in Oregon to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic is something no one has seen before. FOX 12 was given a first-had look at the state’s response inside the command center in Salem.
At the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, there are hundreds of people coordinating the response and getting supplies out to Oregon’s 36 counties and several tribes.
Emergency managers say it appears the prevention and social distancing measures that were put in place are working, but add with the caveat the state is not out of the woods yet.
“We are doing everything we can to prevent this from being the new normal,” OEM Director Andrew Phelps said. “There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now we want to ask Oregonians to keep doing what they have been doing, we know this is going to end.”
For a better part of a month many, in the operations center have been trying to stop the spread of the virus.
“I have been amazed to see the people that come to work every day, when I say every day, the Oregon Health Authority has been doing this for 70-plus days and they still have smiles on their faces, they are at the tip of the spear on this,” said Mariana Ruiz-Temple with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Those in the building will tell you those working in Salem are Oregonians trying to help fellow Oregonians. They have been tasked with a wide range of duties from making sure hospitals have what they need to securing more supplies.
Phelps says more ventilators have been brought in, but says the good news is they may not be needed in the short term.
“We have a stockpile of ventilators that we requested from FEMA and they provided 140 of them to us. So we are maintaining that stock,” Phelps said.
OEM and other state leaders are asking Oregonians to continue staying at home as much as possible.
“It is going to take all of us, it is not just one team in here that is going to do it for Oregonians, it truly is going to be Oregonians helping all of us,” Ruiz-Temple said.
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