March 17, 2020

Northeast Oregon is a distinct and tightly bonded community. Our relationships, caring, and compassion make our area unique. Our close proximity to one another, and the distance from other municipalities lend to us being interwoven and supporting each other. For many years, these counties have assisted one another when times have been tough.
There are ample opportunities to read or hear information about the current COVID-19 outbreak. The news is coming from far and wide and it’s often difficult to decipher truth. This includes global news of our neighbors
overseas, national news, and even the statewide news. It is important to note, to date, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in Baker, Union or Wallowa counties.
Remember, this is new territory for all Oregonians, Americans, and the world at large. Never before have we faced anything like this with the information sharing tools we have available. These tools are excellent for
getting word out, but there is some erroneous information being spread as well. Finding official sources of information, such as the NE Oregon Joint Information Center is important.
There are a number of our neighbors and friends who will not have access to information. Calling to check-in with these neighbors and friends who may not be able to get out can provide a sense of comradery, and avoid
a sense of isolation. Maintaining contact with these people is an essential task for us all.
There are several things each of us can do to slow the spread of COVID-19. Observing social distancing, staying home if you feel ill, and washing your hands often and thoroughly, are all good ways to help keep yourself and your family well. The purpose of slowing the spread of the virus is to keep from overwhelming our health care systems.
Avoid hoarding essential items. It’s important during these times that we acquire only what we need, and allow for others to do so as well. The support for the local businesses is appreciated, as these businesses are
cornerstones of our community.
Be patient with responders, and county and city officials as we all navigate this time ahead of us. The news and updates are coming in rapidly and local officials are working to get accurate information to the public as soon as we can. Beginning March 17 at 9:00 a.m., the Northeast Oregon Joint Information Center will be open, providing information across the region. Local partners such as law enforcement, fire, medical providers, emergency managers and other state and local agencies will be coordinating messages.