With increased fear and misconceptions, it is important to keep up to date with the facts about the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon. The best way to know if you hear there has been a new confirmed case is to check the Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 page, where they keep track in real time the number of confirmed cases, those pending, negative, monitored, and more. Bookmark the page and refer to it often: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
We may see a spike of confirmed cases across the country as testing increases. The most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold can also help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you’re sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Get your flu shot. Available at the Malheur County Health Department. Call 541-889-7279 for an appointment.
If you feel like you need to see a doctor, call your healthcare provider first to discuss whether or not you need to be seen. If you need urgent medical attention, call 911. The provider will ensure they have protective measures in place. If a healthcare provider thinks you may have COVID-19, he or she will first determine if you are well enough to stay home or if you need to go to a clinic or hospital. Your healthcare provider may ask you to put on a mask to limit spread of the virus and make sure you are not around other people. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. The goal is to support the person who is ill, supply oxygen if needed, and help lessen the symptoms until the immune system kicks in and kills the virus. Most people with COVID-19 appear to have mild disease that doesn’t require a medical visit.
As with flu, most people can recover at home without problems. Those with fever and cough who have significant trouble breathing, or feel faint, or parents of a child who gets bluish color of the skin around the mouth should call promptly and arrange for medical evaluation or call 911.
It’s important to not stigmatize anyone you think might have COVID-19. There is no way to look at someone who has flu-like symptoms and know they have COVID-19.
COVID-19 is spread when people touch or breathe in droplets made when ill people cough, sneeze or talk. This can happen when someone is close to a sick person, within six feet. Rarely, people might catch COVID-19 by touching a surface that a person with the infection coughed or sneezed on, and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. Coronaviruses can’t survive for long on surfaces, though, so this isn’t common.
The Oregon Health Authority has created a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page. More questions are being answered and the page is updated regularly.
For more information:
- For general information, call 211
- OHA Emerging Respiratory Disease page: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
- CDC COVID-19 page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- CDC travel notice: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
- WHO page: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus
- Malheur County Health Department: https://malheurhealth.org