Sometime last week, it became clear: Gov. Kate Brown wasn’t feeling well.
By Monday morning, when she joined an online video conference meant to draw attention to the critical shortage of protective equipment for front line workers, Brown's voice was noticeably raspy.
The governor — who for weeks has been spending her waking hours strategizing against the spread of COVID-19 — occasionally coughed into her elbow.
In a normal cold-and-flu season, those symptoms wouldn’t bear mention. In 2020, coming from the person leading the state’s public health response in a time of crisis, they raise a question.
Has the governor been tested for COVID-19?
She has not, her office said Monday. But her husband, Dan Little, has.
“Her husband Dan began exhibiting symptoms of a seasonal illness early last week, and out of an abundance of caution, was tested for coronavirus,” Brown’s press secretary, Charles Boyle, wrote in an email. “The test came back negative.”
When Brown developed similar symptoms late last week, Boyle said the governor consulted a doctor who “has advised her that the symptoms do not align with that of coronavirus and has not recommended that she be tested.”
“In other words, the governor has been diagnosed with a cold,” Boyle wrote.
The governor, following her own advice to Oregonians, has been working from home since the diagnosis. Prior to that, she’d been “working in an office environment that underwent a deep-clean specifically for COVID-19, and which is sanitized throughout the workday,” Boyle wrote.
Brown, he said, has been careful to practice social distancing.