June 15, 2020

Today the Center for Human Development (CHD) announced 99 confirmed new cases in Union County, bringing the county total to 123. Of this total, five have been listed as recovered. Officials anticipate these numbers to increase as many test results are still being processed. A significant number of cases have been associated with the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church. Over the weekend, a drive-through testing clinic was held by CHD in cooperation with the Lighthouse Church. Approximately 365 individuals were tested. Testing will continue as additional contact tracing and investigations are conducted.

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been asked to isolate at home for a minimum of 14 days based on the presence of symptoms, to prevent spread of the illness to others. If you have symptoms that are mild enough you would not typically seek medical treatment, stay home, rest, and monitor your symptoms. If you think you have COVID-19 or have symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and plan to visit your primary care provider, call them before you arrive. This will help to avoid exposing others at the provider facility. If your symptoms are severe enough that you need to visit the Emergency Room (such as severe shortness of breath) call the ER ahead of time or if you are requesting an ambulance, let dispatch know about your symptoms. Keeping our healthcare providers and emergency responders healthy will be critical to our success as a community.

Community members within the vulnerable population category, or those that have vulnerable family members in the home, need to take extra precautions. Do not go out in public if you do not have to. If you must go out, remember to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, wear a cloth face covering, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently as well as when returning home. With the virus so prolific in the community it is important that anyone with COVID-like symptoms stay home until the symptoms completely resolve. COVID-19 symptoms currently include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you have general questions about COVID-19, dial 211. This information number will connect you to a call center staffed with individuals prepared to answer questions or refer callers to specialists with access to resources available from private and public health. The 211 staff can also link or refer callers directly to an agency or organization to provide assistance. This will help alleviate the large volume of calls being received at Center for Human Development in La Grande. The call center is available daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Due to the number of increased cases, Union County has reactivated the Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT) to assist Center for Human Development, Inc. with the county’s COVID-19 response. Utilizing established partnerships from within the county, the IMT structure has been staffed and developed to further assist the citizens of Union County.

The Union County Incident Management Team is comprised of 30 representatives from various agencies as well as individual volunteers. This includes Union County Search and Rescue (volunteers); La Grande School District; La Grande Rural Fire Protection District; City of La Grande employees to include Law Enforcement, Fire Department, and City Parks; Grande Ronde Hospital; Center for Human Development; Life Flight; Oregon Department of Forestry; Oregon State Police; and Union County employees to include the Administrative Office, Sheriff’s Department, and Union County Emergency Services. Many other Center for Human Development employees and Grande Ronde Hospital employees have been actively working on the incident and will continue to do so within their organizational structure.

The Joint Information Center will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until further notice.