The first confirmed case of the coronavirus (COVID-19), hit Oregon in early March. Oregon now has 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Across the country, a total of 938 cases have been confirmed. Across the world, more than 113,000 cases have been confirmed.

Oregon specific cases are regularly being updated on the Oregon Health Authority website, for current case information, click here.

While the outbreak continues, federal and local leaders have quickly moved funding to support emergency response activities while local public health authorities are working on community plans for preventing spread of and addressing confirmed cases of the virus.

Funding for Emergency Response Efforts

Federal Funding

On March 6, a bipartisan funding package was signed by President Donald Trump, allocating $8.3 billion to combat the virus. Highlights of the package include:

    • $3.1 billion for the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services for their dispersal
    • $950 million for state and local health departments
    • $300 million to buy vaccines and treatments
    • $1.25 billion for international activities

State Funding

Following the close of the Legislative Session, the Emergency Board, a group of legislators charged with allocating emergency funding while the Legislature is not in session, quickly convened. In its meeting held Monday, March 9, the Emergency Board awarded $5 million to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to support coronavirus emergency response activities. The board also raised the legislatively approved cap on federal fund expenditures and account for Oregon’s share of the $8.3 billion in federal funding to address the virus.


As described by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses common in people and many different animals that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. An animal CoV can rarely infect people, but has with viruses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), and now with the new coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes has been named coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated COVID-19. 

How it Spreads


The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

More information from the CDC on how the virus spreads can be found here.


The CDC reports that illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms that may appear between two and 14 days after exposure include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

More information from the CDC on symptoms can be found here.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no vaccine currently available to prevent COVID-19. The CDC recommends the best way to prevent illnesses is to avoid exposure to the virus. 

Prevention Steps to Protect Yourself and Others

The CDC recommends the following steps to protect yourself and others from the virus

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay at home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces

More information from the CDC on prevention can be found here.


A number of resources are available regarding COVID-19 including information on current cases, transmission sources, travel information, testing, risk, and other pertinent details. Below are leading resources for up-to-date and relevant information.

Oregon Health Authority

Visit the Oregon Health Authority website for information on cases in Oregon; updated frequently asked questions (FAQ) responses; and educational videos on protection, facts, when to seek treatment, and tutorials.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for information on COVID-19 background and symptom information, travel resources, protection and prevention, community prevention recommendations, U.S. cases, and more.

World Health Organization

Visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website for daily situation updates.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate