After a full month, Jefferson County remains on Gov. Kate Brown's Watch List. The Watch List is designed to highlight communities that have seen increases in community spread of COVID-19 cases. The community spread of COVID-19 cases that cannot be tied to an existing known positive are called "sporadic cases." According to the guidelines from the governor's office, Jefferson County will remain on the Watch List as long as these sporadic cases remain high (five or more local cases in the last two weeks). In the latest updates to the Watch List, two counties (Lincoln and Union County) demonstrated this decrease in sporadic cases and were removed from the list. Additionally, three counties (Hood River, Marion, and Multnomah) that have seen an increase in sporadic cases have been added to the Watch List. In some communities (Umatilla and Morrow County), the increases in sporadic cases have resulted in increased limitations and restrictions on their reopening plans. The decision to move backward in phases is not one that will be made by Jefferson County Public Health or the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners; moving backward would be driven by community decisions.
According to Tami Kepa'a, the Jefferson County Public Information Officer, it is essential for someone that is contacted by public health staff to self-isolate as a result of a positive test or if they have been identified as a known contact of someone positive.
"We cannot stress enough the importance of remaining at your homes, avoiding family gatherings, and choosing one person to shop for your household when your family is impacted by COVID-19. While we understand how difficult these times are, it is absolutely necessary to protect the most vulnerable in our community," adds Kepa'a.
Locally, children under the age of 18 have accounted for 30-40% of the overall case counts. In Jefferson County, and throughout Oregon, public health staff are seeing increases in the numbers of positive COVID-19 with young children (under the age of 11). Nearly 480 children ages 6-11 and 450 children under the age of 5 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date. Additionally, public health staff have supported new local mothers and families with young children and newborns. The drastic rise in numbers has promoted the Oregon Health Authority to issue a Pediatric COVID-19 Report for the first time since the start of the pandemic. In the report, OHA highlights that children are most likely to linked to a COVID positive family member living in the same household. The full report can be viewed on the OHA website at https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le3222.pdf.
Masks and kids
New guidelines went into effect for all of Oregon on Friday, July 24. These included masks/face coverings are required for children age 5 and up. 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. These guidelines can be found on the Oregon Health Authority's website, https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-face-coverings.
New to the masking guidelines are the requirements that kids ages 5 and older are required to wear a mask. Additionally, kids over 2 can wear a mask, as long as they are able to remove it themselves. While the ability of young children to properly wear a mask or face covering may at first appear too difficult, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support the proper use of coverings to help protect children as young as 2.
Here are a few ideas to help your child feel comfortable if they feel unsure about wearing a mask or other face covering:
• Let your child choose and decorate their mask.
• Try different styles to see which is the most comfortable.
• Put a mask on a favorite stuffed toy or draw one on a favorite book character.
• Introduce the mask when everyone is relaxed but not too sleepy.
• Practice wearing the mask at home to help your child get used to it.
• Play some "let's pretend" games with characters who wear masks.
• Point out other people wearing masks while you are out.
Masks and disabilities
• Everyone must wear a mask in indoor public spaces like grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores. If someone with a disability is unable to wear a mask or alternate face covering (like a face shield), they can request a reasonable accommodation from the business. These accommodations might look like grocery store pickup or pharmacy delivery. Learn more about the ADA and face mask policies at https://www.adasoutheast.org/ada/publications/legal/ada-and-face-mask-policies.php.
• For Caregivers: Remember to only put a face covering on someone who is able to adjust and remove it themselves.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, Jefferson County reported 311 cases:
County Cases by Zip codes, as of 7/29/2020 (reported every Tuesday): https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/COVID-19- Weekly-Report-2020-07-29-FINAL.pdf
Hospitalizations/St. Charles: https://www.stcharleshealthcare.org/covid-19
As of 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, there were four COVID-19 patients at St. Charles Bend; three of the patients were in the ICU on a ventilator.
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs:
Oregon General Guidance for Employers on COVID-19: https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342C.pdf
Jefferson County Public Health Facebook:
Public Health officials continue to recommend that anyone who has tested positive or has come in contact with someone who has tested positive contact your primary care provider for guidance on testing and isolation.
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 green $4 checks to spend on fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and cut edible herbs directly with authorized farmers. 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 FDNP checks, or maybe you're curious if WIC is for you, please call us today at 541-475-4456.
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. While we are still here for birth control needs, we ask you to please call ahead to schedule appointments. As always, your primary care provider should be your first choice for all of your health care concerns.
Jefferson County Public Health is looking to expand the Indoor Clean Air Act within the County to 25 feet of distance from the current 10 feet law.
Jefferson County Public Health reimbursed over $45,000 in Environmental Health License fees that were paid for 2020, on July 31 due to COVID-19 impacts.
WRAPAROUND SERVICES FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY COVID-19:
If you live in Jefferson County and have been asked to self-isolate by public health staff, it is our pleasure to assist you with some basic essentials that would help you stay home during your time of isolation, avoiding you having to leave your home, as requested. Please call us, 541-475-4456.
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