Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran Calls for Another COVID-19 Stay-Home Order in Portland

“It’s such an awful concept,” she says, “but yes—I think, frankly, that’s where we need to be right now.”

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Sharon Meieran is experiencing symptoms of déja vù.

The Multnomah County commissioner, who is also an emergency room doctor, can hardly fathom that Portlanders would need to be ordered to stay home twice in a year.

But she looks at the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in Multnomah County—351 on Thursday alone—and says it's time for another lockdown. That means closing every nonessential business in Portland and ordering people to remain in their homes. In other words, the same order the governor issued in March—again.

If Gov. Kate Brown won't do it, she says, the county must.

"It's such an awful concept," she says, "but yes—I think, frankly, that's where we need to be right now."

Meieran reliably sounds warnings every time the COVID caseload rises in Multnomah County. Just as often, she gets ignored. But she says even she is shocked by how fast cases rose in the two weeks after Halloween parties.

And with the governor poised to announce new rules, Meieran isn't shy about offering advice. That "two-week pause" limiting the number of people in bars? She says it's not nearly enough.

In this conversation, she discusses the best-case scenario (Christmas shopping is saved!) and the worst.

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