Virtual Forum with Congressman Greg Walden
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Sponsored by: Hunter Communications, April Forum
FOR FORUM INFORMATION CONTACT
The Chamber of Medford & Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847
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For the first time ever, the Chamber of Medford & Jackson County hosted a virtual forum using Zoom. Congressman Greg Walden spoke about several facets concerning COVID-19 and the potential impact on Oregon and the United States. “This is so different from September 11th and the 2008 financial crisis,” said Walden. “COVID-19 poses a greater challenge, but Congress has come together to help our communities and businesses.” Walden first addressed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was rolled out in less than a week. He stated that so far, they have approved over $200 billion of the $349 billion available, and many loans. “We look at this as an emergency bridge over the Hell’s Canyon of this crisis.” Additionally, Walden said for those businesses who have applied for loans but not received any funds, they should see the money free up in about 10 days. “These loans were set up to have the most rapid turnaround possible,” explained Walden. He also suggested people visit Treasury.gov and SBA.gov to receive the most current and updated information. During a Q&A session, many attendees asked about the economy. They wondered that if it drops too far, what do we have after the pandemic ends, and if it can ever return to normal. “We don’t want to have done all the isolation and social distancing, only to open things up too soon and have the virus come back,” said Walden. “I hope what we’ve done and learned so far will inform when and where we can open. This may be a staged reopening and may differ from business to business.” Walden thinks people will maintain social distancing of some sort for a while, but that we can get out of isolation at some point. Additionally, he believes measures such as wearing masks makes sense, because “...there are things we know are important now that we didn’t know before.” Walden and others hope that COVID-19 will act like other viruses, and possibly reduce its virulence with the onset of warmer weather. But he stated a short-term goal is to have a treatment available by fall. “If one of the drugs they’re testing right now is available by fall, which I think is possible, that will affect when we can reopen because now we can manage the disease,” explained Walden. “The other important piece is testing. We need testing, treatment and a vaccine.” However, a long-term vaccine is still about 12-18 months away. In the interim, they are working on helping medical personnel have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and increase the stockpile. For Walden, using the knowledge they have gained so far will be key in how Oregon and the country moves forward. “The more we learn, the better informed our decisions will be.”
hunter
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847

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