Your COVID-19 primer for Monday, March 16
The number of people in Oregon diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, rose to 39 over the weekend, officials say.
That's from 32 as of Saturday.
Yamhill County has its first-ever case of coronavirus, while Deschutes and Linn counties each reported one new case.
On Saturday, March 14, a 70-year-old man living in Multnomah County became the first person in Oregon to die from COVID-19.
The man, a military veteran, had been undergoing treatment at the Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in Portland. The Oregon Health Authrity said he also had "underlying health conditions" unrelated to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Almost all schools in the state will be closed starting Monday, March 16. That will continue at least through March and could extend into April.
First responders, including police and fire agencies throughout the tri-county area, emphasized this weekend that their officers will continue to patrol the city and respond to incidents, but also will practice social distancing and will avoid group gatherings. Authorities are looking for ways to mimize contact with the public and encourage citizens to report non-emergency crimes online.
Portland Parks & Recreation has closing all of its community centers and pools, and is canceling all indoor activities, programs and rentals. The tentative reopening date for the bureau's indoor facilities is April 1.
Saturday's highly unusual March snow complicated matters for the city, which has struggled with ways to serve the homeless while keeping the safe from the coronavirus. The forecast for the remainder of the week is warmer and sunnier.
As of the weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a total of 1,629 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with a total of 41 deaths. However, those figures are expected to be updated at 8 a.m. today.
As of the weekend, 47 states and the District of Columbia have reported cases.
The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on Jan. 21.
Readers can track the daily spread of the disease here.
What do we know about COVID-19?
It's a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
The name COVID-19 stems from the disease's origin: (CO)rona(VI)rus (D)isease that first emerged in 20(19).
The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Find out more at the CDC website.
How is it spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another — "close" meaning within about 6 feet — through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. (It also may be possible that people can get it by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.) Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at this site.
What are the symptoms?
Most patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, a cough and shortness of breath. In the more severe cases, some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and, in some cases, death.
How can I help protect myself?
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
What should you do if you're sick?
Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. And clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19?
If you have traveled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to two weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period — such as a fever, cough or trouble breathing — seek medical advice. Call your health care provider before you go, and explain about your travel and your symptoms. Your health care provider will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don't go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
Is there a vaccine?
Just like the common cold, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
Is there a treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Call your doctor first before going it, to avoid exposing others.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.