LETTER: Returning snowbirds and COVID-19

The thousands of Oregonians who’ve responded to Governor Kate Brown’s order to stay-at-home can be duly proud of themselves as it appears this effort by a majority of us to control the COVID-19 outbreak has come to a victory of sorts of humankind over a death-dealing virus. However, it may be a bit premature by us to count our blessings too soon.

I will remind all Oregonians that a significant number of us depart for at least two seasons every year, that is, fall and winter and some of spring, too, by spending huge chunks of time in parts of Arizona, California and elsewhere in warmer climes. These folks, incidentally, may have been under orders in their other homes elsewhere but we don’t know the specifics of whether it has worked because we’re not there.

There should be, in my concerned opinion, some means by which those thousands who will return later this month and into May, be checked for having the coronavirus outright, or be asymptomatic and thereby carriers of this dreaded, lethal respiratory illness, that not only kills humans but has also been proven already to attack and harm our pets and possibly, at least, all other mammals. We should be able and must be able to demand a test of those returning to Oregon and, anyone else who’s not from here, who has no legitimate reason to be here.

With the arrival of those numbers soon, we could, on a smaller scale, be victimized into the kind of outbreaks currently known underway in California, Michigan, New Jersey, New Orleans and the state of Washington, among others, which itself, our immediate state neighbor to the north, could also be negatively impacted by a resurgence of persons with COVID-19. It’s all very serious, mind you, and threatening to health and life itself.  

I have personally brought this matter to the attention of Governor Kate Brown, our U.S. senators, and our local office-holders. Not one of them views this matter serious enough to even reply to me. Hence, it would seem duly appropriate for persons who care enough to be as concerned as I am to write, call, email or phone any office-holder and express your desire they take notice.

Gene H. McIntyre