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Jefferson County departent delivers food, supplies to people in isolation, partners with local nonprofits.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Jefferson County Public Health shares a weekly update.

COVID-19 Wraparound Services for Jefferson County

When you think of COVID and the role that Jefferson County Public Health plays in our local response, you usually think of contact tracing, COVID-19 community and business education, phased re-openings, and the overall case counts. Although all of these things are part of the ongoing requirements, many other services are being offered to help limit the impact that COVID-19 has on our community and families.

While many Public Health programs focus on families and their well-being, the COVID-19 response has put all of Jefferson County Public Health staff on alert. Building off the traditional program delivery models, Public Health staff are now engaged in full wraparound services for patients and families impacted directly by COVID-19.

"What started out as delivery of food for individuals in isolation has really developed into full wraparound services for both the positive COVID case, as well as their entire family," said Tami Kepa'a. Kepa'a coordinates staff in delivering food, prescriptions, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and other essentials to families that are not able to go to the grocery store due to being in isolation.

"We realize that being in isolation is incredibly difficult. We've tried to make it as easy as possible for someone to remain in their home during the infectious time," adds Kepa'a. Partnerships with the Latino Community Association, Council on Aging, Community Food Network, and LINC ensure that many needs can be immediately addressed locally. New partners or additional services are always welcome and encouraged to contact Jefferson County Public Health in order to support the outreach and local assistance.

Kepa'a, who usually serves as the Jefferson County Public Health WIC Coordinator, has seen her own job responsibilities change with the demands of COVID. Besides maintaining her regular responsibilities in WIC, Kepa'a now serves as the wraparound coordinator, as well as the public information officer for Jefferson County on all issues related to COVID.

"We all just chip in wherever we're needed," she adds.

Additionally, Jefferson County Public Health has started to work with FEMA on securing funding to assist with housing for individuals that are not able to isolate due to limitations in housing or by having no place to isolate within their own home. To date, Jefferson County Public Health has provided support for several families as they needed to isolate. However, as the local increase in COVID-19 cases has been tied to social and family gatherings, housing issues and isolation have become a priority. Many of the positive cases and close contacts report difficulty in isolating from family members due to overcrowding, multi-family housing, or several individuals sharing smaller homes.

As Jefferson County has consistently been ranked as one of the most unhealthy in the state of Oregon, the potential for serious impacts remains high.

"We realize that everyone wants to know about the number of cases we're experiencing locally," said Michael Baker, Jefferson County Public Health's health services director. "However, it's just as important to look past the numbers at what the impacts to individuals and their families really are. As a community, we are seeing more and more serious illnesses as our overall numbers increase."

The wraparound services are seen as a way to lessen the impacts on each individual and allow them to focus on getting well without the additional concerns of placing others at risk to meet their own essential needs.

New guidelines went into effect for all of Oregon on Friday, July 24. These included masks/face coverings being required for children, decreases in hours of operations and seating capacity for restaurants and bars, and the requirement for masks/face coverings are now required when outdoors when you cannot physically distance. While no single intervention will stop the spread of COVID-19 locally, Jefferson County Public Health staff continue to recommend that everyone practice all of the guidelines to keep themselves, their families, and our community safe.

WIC (Women, Infants & Children):

Farmers Market Checks are here! The Oregon Farm Direct Nutrition Program (FDNP) is a state-administered, federal nutrition program serving families enrolled in the WIC program and income-eligible seniors. FDNP participants receive seven green $4 checks to spend on fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and cut edible herbs directly with authorized farmers from now through the end of November. To locate a farm stand or market, visit myoregonfarm.org. If you're a WIC participant, please call us to schedule a time to pick up your checks. If you would like to see if WIC is for you and your family, please call us today at 541-475-4456.

CLINIC:

Our clinical staff are working hard with members of the community to limit the spread of disease by helping people to stay home who have tested positive and/or have been around the people who've tested positive. Please call for an appointment so we can get you on the schedule right away. As always, your primary care provider should be your first choice for all of your health care concerns.

HOME VISITING:

Nurse Home Visiting is responding to the pandemic by meeting family needs for support services in alternative sites, whether virtually via phone or video platforms, or even meeting safely in outdoor settings.

We are accepting new referrals for family support programs, including Perinatal Care Coordination, Healthy Families, BabiesFirst! and CaCoon.  These programs assist with Oregon Health Plan assistance and health care navigation for pregnant women, children through age 5, and people with special health needs through age 21.  Lactation care services are available in conjunction with WIC staff. Referrals can be made by calling 541-475-4456.


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