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'Dozens of people have been tested in Oregon for the COVID-19 virus, and so far, only three have come back positive'

Rep. Brad Witt Things are still pretty quiet here in the Capitol as the walk-out continues, and we are unable to move any legislation through the House or Senate Chambers. Work is wrapping up in committees, and if additional lawmakers return before the March 8 Legislative Assembly deadline, we will have legislation ready for consideration in both Chambers.

This week the coronavirus COVID-19 is on everyone's mind. The Pacific Northwest has been hit hard, with the only nine deaths in the United States occurring in the state of Washington. Most of those cases were linked to one nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, and were elderly residents with underlying health issues.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now confirmed one case in Oregon, but other test results are pending, and federal health officials are working closely with the Oregon Health Authority Coronavirus Response Team to aggressively contain the outbreak.

Symptoms of the virus are fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Dozens of people have been tested in Oregon for the COVID-19 virus, and so far, only three have come back positive. Testing is now being done on those people who have traveled to an affected country, have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus and individuals who are already hospitalized with respiratory illness. Internationally, a major study of nearly 45,000 Chinese patients found that 81% suffered no symptoms or only "mild" symptoms, described as a really bad case of the flu that can be treated at home. About 14% of cases were severe, and 5% critical. The greatest concern is for elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions.

State, federal and local officials are working together to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in Oregon by:

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  • Learning more about the COVID-19, including steps needed to prevent, treat and contain it.

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  • Monitoring people who may have been exposed, making sure they are seen by medical professionals, and encouraging them to stay isolated from others.

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  • Coordinating with local and tribal public health officials, hospitals and health system to prepare and identify needed supplies, equipment and facility.

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  • Communicating information daily about COVID-19 on testing, cases under investigation and monitoring.

    An informed public is the best defense against the spread of this virus. You can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 by:

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  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then discarding the tissue, and washing your hands.

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  • Wash hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

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  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

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  • Clean and disinfect surfaces people often touch.

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  • Take care of your overall health. Staying current on your vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, eating well and exercise all help keep your body resilient.

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  • If you feel sick or develop a cough or fever, stay home from work or school.

    Contact your health provider before going in for testing or treatment.

    As I mentioned, the Oregon Health Authority is working to keep people informed about this disease, and I would encourage you to visit their COVID-19 web page www.oregon.gov/oha for the latest updates. You can also follow OHA on Facebook and Twitter.

    Please be safe and do the simple things, like washing hands frequently, that protect us during the cold and flu season.


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