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Local departments join with state agencies to take proper precautions should the coronavirus be diagnosed in Yamhill County

The departments responsible for public health in Yamhill County are continuing to prepare for the possible advent of the first COVID-19 (coronavirus) case in the area.

"Our local public health department has an amazing track record of managing major communicable disease events in Yamhill County," Yamhill County Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin said in a prepared release. "If someone is diagnosed with COVID -19 we will follow our procedures, which include notifying individuals who may have come in contact with the sick individual and offer health guidance."

YCHHS has partnered with the county's public health department and the Oregon Health Authority to prepare for a possible outbreak of the virus after a Washington County woman was confirmed as Oregon's first case on Feb. 28.

"If we begin to see many cases we will move into what we call emergency operations activation and incident command," Manfrin said. "This is a known, and frequently practiced, structure that allows nimble movement within our organization to address large or widespread health issues, allocate resources and keep strong communication."

In addition to the Washington County case, additional people in northwest Oregon are being monitored after having been potentially exposed to the virus, a press release said. While currently not ill, these individuals are being closely watched in case they develop symptoms.

"(We are) conducting disease surveillance, preparing our response and coordinating with our partners at large," Manfrin said. "Please note that things can change and evolve quickly and we are closely monitoring the situation 24/7."

The Oregon Health Authority has created a website that lists updated numbers for the virus at www.healthoregon.org/coronoavirus. As of Wednesday, three individuals statewide had tested positive for the virus, 45 tested negative, 13 were pending and 115 people were being monitored.

On the state and federal level, travelers from high-risk areas are being funneled to particular domestic airports to streamline detection, screening and education, the release said. Those who are high risk are being asked to self-quarantine in their own homes.

Symptoms of the disease, technically referred to as an infectious respiratory illness, are fever, a cough and difficulty breathing. Although COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms, they are two entirely different diseases and treatment for the flu will not work on the coronavirus, officials have said.

In order to avoid contracting or spreading the virus, public health officials are advising people to follow a number of simple steps: Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then dispose of the tissue; wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds – or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol; avoid contact with individuals who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; disinfect surfaces in your home and work place that are often touched and keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep and exercising regularly.

For more information locally, visit www.hhs.co.yamhill.or.us or call Manfrin at 503-434-5725.


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