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Which COVID Guidelines Are Being Followed?
The House will convene on Saturday morning

Speaker Tina Kotek adjourned the House of Representatives earlier this week due to a positive COVID case being reported from within the Capitol. She said in her statement to the sparse attendance of members on the floor that, “We are working with the Governor’s office and the Oregon Health Authority to make sure that testing is available to the individuals who were close contacts of the positive case. It is also our understanding that individuals that have been vaccinated do not need to quarantine”.

What is unclear is “who” advised the Speaker that vaccinated people did not need to quarantine.

According to the CDC website, people who are fully vaccinated and who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. If they then test positive, they should isolate for 10 days.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine guidelines do not differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. In the OHA section on “Close contacts with Confirmed COVID-19 cases and presumptive COVID 19 cases” it states that the requirements are The Marion County Health Department, which covers Salem and the Capitol, state in their COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guide that,

“Quarantine should start as soon as you know you’ve been in close contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the virus. Stay home for 10 days after your last contact with someone who has COVID-19. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) because symptoms can show up from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. You might test negative during this time because there may not be enough of the virus in your system yet.”

The only other possibility is that the Speaker was advised by and is following the guidelines of the county in which she and her constituents live. The Multnomah Health Department website says that,

“If you have been fully vaccinated seek testing if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not have to quarantine if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19, unless you develop symptoms”.

After the close of the session, members received an email from staff in the Speaker’s office stating that,

“On Thursday (9/23/21), members and staff who are close contacts will be able to receive both rapid and PCR tests in Salem. We expect this will allow individuals to receive test results by no later than Friday afternoon. The House will then convene on Saturday morning.

This timeline will ensure that members who require tests will have the opportunity to get results back. It will also allow enough time for the House to confirm quorum and complete its work by voting on the bills that the Senate passed for House consideration”.

The memo points to the real reason for rushing testing and going against all Federal, State and local health department recommendations. Testing quickly, 3 days after exposure, will “allow enough time for the House to confirm quorum and complete its work by voting on the bills that the Senate passed for House consideration”.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The vote on the redistricting maps must take place by midnight on Monday the 27th or the maps go to the Secretary of State, for the Oregon Legislative maps, and a committee of Retired Oregon Supreme Court Judges for the Congressional maps. The House Democrats want their maps -- not anyone else’s. They need quorum, they need to vote, and they need to do it quickly.

If the Speaker follows the CDC guidelines, she must test everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated that were close contacts within 3-5 days of exposure (Thurs – Sat). Waiting till the 5-day mark only leaves her Sunday and Monday to move the redistricting bills.

If the Speaker follows the OHA guidelines, all known close contacts would quarantine for 14 days or could possibly be reduced by local officials to 10 days after exposure if the person is not sick or 7 days with a negative test. This is not an option because time would run out to pass the maps.

If the Speaker follows the Marion County Health Department guidelines which recommend a 10-day quarantine after contact, even if the test is negative, that is also not an option because time would run out to pass the maps.

So, the Oregon Legislature will once again follow what Portland does by apparently following the Multnomah County Health Department rules.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-22 22:02:28Last Update: 2021-09-22 22:16:22



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