Oregon's Novel Coronavirus: Updated Numbers Here | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Oregon's Novel Coronavirus: Updated Numbers Here

From covering coughs to prevention, here's what officials think you should know


Monday, 3/2, 10:15 am: Oregon health officials announced Monday that a third person has been id'd as having a "presumed case" of COVID-19. The person lives in Umatilla County and is in the hospital in Walla Walla, Washington. OHA said the person attended a youth basketball game at Weston Middle School in Weston, Oregon on Saturday. School officials have closed the gym for cleaning, and people who may have attended the game and may have questions can contact the following:

-Oregon residents can call 211.
-Washington residents: Washington State Department of Health: 800-525-0127, press # Walla Walla County: 509-524-2647

Sunday 3/1 pm: Oregon Health Authority announced Sunday that a second person, who is an "adult household contact" with the first presumed case of coronavirus in Oregon, has contracted a "presumed case" of COVID-19. The second person is not in the hospital and is being treated at home. OHA tested eight other people over the weekend and found them all to be negative.

Gov. Kate Brown has directed state agencies to continue its preparations, creating an interagency Coronavirus Response Team to coordinate state and local efforts statewide.

On Friday, state health officials announced that the illness first detected in China on Dec. 31 had hit home. The Oregon Health Authority announced Friday evening that it had seen its first "presumptive case" of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Around 6 pm, officials announced that the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory had confirmed the sample just a few hours before, adding that the sample would need to be confirmed yet again by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia before they would announce the case "confirmed," rather than "presumed." The CDC may return an expedited test as soon as this weekend, officials said.

click to enlarge Oregon's Novel Coronavirus: Updated Numbers Here
Dr. Jennifer Vines, tri-county health officer for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, with Gov. Kate Brown at Friday's press confence.

OHA officials said the sick person, who first showed symptoms Feb. 19, is a resident of Washington County, and is hospitalized at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro. They had not recently traveled to any of the other countries affected by COVID-19, so officials are assuming the person got it from another community member.

"We want to acknowledge the seriousness of this first case, But this is your local and state health system prepared." - Dr. Jennifer Vines, tri-county health officer for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties

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The sick person is an employee at Forest Hills Elementary School in nearby Lake Oswego, OHA announced Friday. In a press conference Saturday, Lake Oswego School District Superintendent Lora de la Cruz announced that the school would be closed at least through Wednesday. The infected person doesn't have close contact with students, de la Cruz announced, so only a handful of people with whom the person had close contact will be asked to stay home longer and be subject to closer monitoring.

Officials from OHA as well as Portland-area public health agencies assured the public that they were prepared for the advent of COVID-19 in the state.

"We want to acknowledge the seriousness of this first case," said Dr. Jennifer Vines, the tri-county health officer for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties at the Friday press conference. "But this is your local and state health system prepared."

Things for the public to do, Vines said, are to cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, and have a general emergency plan in place, including having food and water for a few days stocked at home. At the first sign of illness, stay home, she advised.

"Passing someone on the street and in the store isn’t going to spread this. It has to be close contact." - Dr. Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist for Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division

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Meanwhile, another person in Oregon has been tested for the illness and has results pending, said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist for OHA's Public Health Division, adding that there appears to be no connection between the person hospitalized in Hillsboro and the second tested person.

He also underlined that the illness is only transmittable through close contact with another person.

"Passing someone on the street and in the store isn’t going to spread this," Sidelinger said. "It has to be close contact."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that one person in Washington had died from COVID-19—the first death in the U.S. More cases are under investigation in California. (Update: Two people in Washington have died from novel coronavirus.)

"While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States," the CDC published on its website.

Update: Statement from St. Charles Medical Center:

St. Charles issued this statement Saturday:

"With flu activity still considered high and the Oregon Health Authority’s announcement of the first presumptive case of COVID-19 coronavirus in Oregon, St. Charles Health System is asking patients and visitors to take precautions when visiting its hospitals and clinics. Individuals experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing should put on a mask and sanitize their hands. Those who have traveled outside of the United States within the last 14 days or have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 should immediately notify a St. Charles caregiver.

"Individuals who are ill and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call their health care provider in advance of their arrival to help minimize exposure. Other simple steps for helping preventing the spread of germs include:   

-High quality and frequent hand washing with soap and water, or use of hand sanitizer

-Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth

-Avoiding contact with sick people and staying home if you’re sick

-Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing

-Frequently cleaning high-touch hard surfaces, such as doorknobs, cell phones and tabletops, with a disinfectant wipe.

"In addition to these steps, St. Charles is working daily with local public health departments and other key partners to coordinate preparedness efforts."

A Bend Physician's Guidance for Novel Coronavirus

While no known cases have been found in Central Oregon, other health experts are urging caution.

Stay home when you are sick. This is NOT the time to buck up and push through. Don’t be afraid to cancel gatherings or meetings.

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Dr. Susan Reichert, a Bend-based physician in private practice, had these words of advice for those concerned about the advent of novel coronavirus in Oregon, which echo much of the advice issued from state health officials:

• Wash hands often, thoroughly, especially after contact with body fluids. Hand sanitizers with 60-90% alcohol may be effective.

• Cough into your elbow or into a tissue that you discard in the trash. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Disinfect surfaces and frequently touched objects, e.g. doorknobs, bathroom counters, toys.

• Avoid exposure to people who are ill or coughing. Stay home when you are sick. This is NOT the time to buck up and push through. Don’t be afraid to cancel gatherings or meetings.

• Visits to health care settings should also be limited when conditions are not urgent. Before heading into the office or ER, call your practitioner or the urgent care to determine whether you need to be seen and where you will best be served. There may be certain settings set up to handle suspected coronavirus in the community.

• Wear a mask – N95 is standard – when exposure cannot be avoided or if you are sick.

• Don’t share! And teach your kids not to share during this outbreak. Keep your snacks, beverage containers, towels, lip balms, scarves and gloves to yourself to avoid transmission. Hold off on hugs and handshakes if you or your contacts might be ill.

• Don't hoard, but do stock your cupboards with some extra food and cleaning supplies. Think about having enough on hand to last a couple weeks—include anything you might need, like your prescription meds, hygiene products or items you would use if a household member becomes ill—like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cough medications, soups, teas, things to relieve symptoms.

• Develop back up plans for school and work—avoiding group exposures and close contact with potentially infected individuals can reduce the spread of the infection. In addition to traditional medical attention, there are alternative approaches that may help bolster ability to fight infection.

• Osteopathic techniques, acupuncture, immune-boosting supplements, homeopathics, herbs and natural remedies may contribute to preventing, treating and providing comfort while we deal with this unfamiliar and serious health challenge. Prepare, don’t panic!

And just for the record, Corona beer has nothing to do with coronavirus, people.

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This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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