The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division (OHA), and Grant County Public Health are closely following an outbreak of a new coronavirus that began in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. Health officials are still learning about this illness, so advice may change as more information becomes available.
What We Know
COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. It is not that same as the human coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Other outbreaks of coronaviruses, like “SARS” and “MERS”, have caused serious illness.
COVID-19 spreads through person to person contact. Symptoms can be mild or severe and can include cough, fever, and trouble breathing. Older people and people with other medical conditions may be at higher risk of severe illness. It can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days for a person exposed to the virus to have symptoms.
The first reported case of this virus in the United States was in Washington State on January 21st in a person who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China. The first case in Oregon was reported on February 28, 2020, a resident of Washington County. The individual had neither a history of travel to a country where the virus was circulating, nor is believed to have had close contact with another confirmed case—the two most common sources of exposure. Oregon Health Authority is reporting on the number of persons under investigation and persons under monitoring, please visit their site for accurate information www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus.
While we are still learning about how COVID-19 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
What Actions Can You Take Everyday to Prevent the Spread of the Flu, Common Cold, and COVID-19?
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
- Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
- Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.
- Stay informed about the situation and make the information is from a credible resource
CDC recommends people age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household. CDC is still studying the effectiveness of different types of masks and will update our recommendations as new scientific evidence becomes available. Who should wear a mask:
- Everyone 2 years of age and older should wear a mask in public settings and when they are around people who do not live in their household.
- Wear a mask when caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 (whether at home or in a non-healthcare setting). If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may have COVID-19, wear a mask when you need to be around other people or animals, even in your own home.
- CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a mask may not be feasible. In these instances, consider adaptations and alternatives.
Who should not wear a mask
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Anyone who has trouble breathing
- Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Wearing masks may be difficult for some people with sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues. If they are unable to wear a mask properly or cannot tolerate a mask, they should not wear one, and adaptations and alternatives should be considered
Schools, Childcare, Business, Long-Term Care Facilities and Faith-Based Communities
The CDC has additional guidance for schools, childcare, long-term care facilities, businesses, faith-based communities and more on how to plan a response to COVID-19. Oregon Health Authority is also providing support. Please see below for additional resources.
Long-Term Care Facilities
Centers for Disease Control has interim guidance available for long-term care facilities: Strategies to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCF)
Childcare Providers and K-12 Schools
Businesses, Community and Faith-Based Organizations
The CDC and Oregon Health Authority have print material available for print.
- Oregon Health Authority, go to the section on facts sheets. There are facts sheets, prevention tips and traveler information. Materials are available in multiple languages. www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
myStrength has added resources for managing heightened stress and uncertainty brought on by the current coronavirus threat. Visit myStrength