Your COVID-19 primer for Saturday, March 21
The Oregon Health Authority on Friday reported 26 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 114.
That's up from 88 cases the day before.
The state's tally had not been updated as of 5:30 a.m. Saturday, March 21.
The new cases reported Friday include four in Clackamas County; two in Deschutes County: one each in Grant, Linn and Union counties; four in Marion County; two in Yamhill County, six in Washington County; and five in Multnomah County.
The health authority has reported three deaths in Oregon from the virus.
The situation is much different in the state of Washington, which, as of Friday, reported 1,376 cases of the virus and 74 deaths related to COVID-19.
In a joint appearance late Friday, Gov. Kate Brown, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that Oregonians should avoid non-essential trips in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. They said a new policy, called "Stay Home, Stay Healthy," will be released in more detail Monday. Wheeler said it will happen after city, county and state officials try to hash out a unified approach over the weekend. It likely would be a hybrid of what other cities and states are calling a "shelter in place" policy forbidding non-essential travel.
Brown also called for the delivery of more protective equipment and supplies for health care workers. She confirmed the state "received about 25% of the request," she'd made to the federal government for personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns. Other providers, such as veterinarians and dentists offices, have helped by funneling such protective equipment to the state command center for use by health care workers who are likely treating patients with COVID-19.
It's also unclear whether the state has enough financial resources to cover the flood of unemployment claims coming in. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported this week that 18,500 unemployment claims were filed in a single day, Tuesday; a filing rate increase in Oregon of nearly 3,200%.
Brown stopped short of saying the state doesn't have enough money to cover the surge in people seeking unemployment benefits, but said federal aid would be key in helping cover the costs.
As of Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a total of 15,219 COVID-19 cases in the United States. That's up sharply from Thursday, when the count hit 10,4422 cases.
The rapid increase in cases likely stems from further testing, rather than an actual increase in infections.
The center is not updating its website on weekends.
The CDC reports a total of 201 deaths as of Thursday. That's up from 150 deaths on Wednesday.
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.
As of Monday, March 16, the CDC is recommending that no gatherings of 50 people or more be held in the United States for the next two months.
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.
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