Oregon health officials had identified three presumptive cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at press time.
The first case of the virus in an Oregon resident was identified on Feb. 28 and two more followed. The most recent is an adult from Umatilla County and has not been linked to other cases that involved travel to other parts of the world. Preliminary reports indicate the person attended a youth basketball game at a gymnasium at Weston Middle School, 205 E. Wallace St. in Weston, Ore., on Saturday, Feb. 29.
Health officials had tested 19 Oregon patients for COVID-19, six results were still pending the morning of Monday, March 2.
With fears about the virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, China, now the major topic of conversation around the world, the Oregon Health Authority is recommending the following actions:
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
• Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
• Consult CDC’s travel website, wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices, for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.
On the local level, the Salem-Keizer School district is taking additional measures to ensure healthy spaces for students.
“We are initiating additional cleaning protocols for high frequency touch points like shared surfaces and doorknobs. We know you may want to send additional wipes and sanitizers to school with your child, and at this point that is totally fine. We have to be careful about the types of products and chemicals in our schools, however, given the circumstances we have relaxed our parameters around these. Unless your child is unwell, we encourage you to send them to school,” said district officials in a email to parents over the weekend.
School officials also encouraged parents to be mindful of talk regarding Asian and Asian-American students.
“We ask that you and your family be mindful that bullying of students based on race, color, national origin, or disability is unacceptable in our school district,” the email stated.
Updates from the district, including possible facility closures, can be found at salemkeizer.org.
Those concerned about the spread of the virus might consider taking the following actions:
• Make certain you have an ample supply of daily medications. While a shortage is unlikely, the goal is to avoid crowds at a grocery store or pharmacy.
• Those prone to illness can stock up on hydrating drinks and items like soups and crackers.
• Talk with your workplace about telecommuting in case of an illness and have an emergency plan for the young people and elderly in your lives.
• Above all, make washing hands a habit, especially when returning to work or home from community spaces.